Robyn: Body Talk Pt. 2

RIYL: Kylie Minogue, The Cardigans, Little Boots

body-talk-2-robyn[1] No, you’re not remembering it wrong — Body Talk Pt. 1 really did arrive less than three months ago. Robyn took five years between her last two releases, but the long downtime had more to do with label machinations than lapsed creativity — and she proves it with Body Talk Pt. 2, which trades its predecessor’s frantic experimentation for a more traditional — and laser-focused — eight-song set.

Robyn’s best work has always rubbed at the sweet spot between machine-controlled pop and raw emotional power, and Body Talk Pt. 2 finds her right in her wheelhouse, from opening track “In My Eyes” (which opens with a quick callback to “Konichiwa Bitches”) through the thrilling six-song run that opens the album. The soaring melody and artificially sweetened harmonies of “Eyes” yield smoothly to the stomping, sparkling “Include Me Out,” which is followed by the crown jewel of the set, “Hang With Me.” Recorded as a ballad for Body Talk Pt. 1, it’s recast here as a surging ode to no-strings-attached romance that swaps out the original’s mournful tone for pure pop seduction. “I know what’s on your mind / There will be time for that too,” she promises over a plangent synth figure, cautioning “Just don’t fall recklessly, headlessly in love with me / ‘Cause it’s gonna be all heartbreak / Blissfully painful insanity.” You know she means it, but with hooks like these, who can resist falling in love?

The set’s weak link is undoubtedly the Snoop-assisted “U Should Know Better” — its cheap boasts would be funnier if they had a stronger song backing them up — but that’s a small complaint for an album with a batting average this high, especially in light of how quickly Pt. 2 is following Pt. 1. And she isn’t done yet: Robyn plans to release another Body Talk record before the year is out. Hang with her. (Universal/Konichiwa 2010)

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