Arts

Body Talk Debuts A New, Outspoken Robyn

Feisty, beat-savvy singer Robyn has long flown under the radar in America, save for a few modest successes here and there.  The blogosphere erupted earlier this year when the petite Swede announced that she would be releasing three EP’s in 2010, the first of which dropped last spring.  Entitled Body Talk Pt. 1 the short record was extremely well received by critics and audiences alike.  In contrast to her first album this year, which was a stylistic shakeup, Body Talk Pt. 2 reverts to that sound that Robyn fans have come to know and embrace.

Anticipation for her second EP hit a fever pitch when Robyn dropped the track “U Should Know Better” featuring this summer’s ubiquitous guest rapper, Snoop Dogg.  It is the perfect single (her second from the disc) – wholly approachable, “U Should Know” is full of catchy and memorable hooks.  Unlike his guest spot on the grating “California Gurls,” Snoop shares the spotlight equally with his hostess.  The artists trade off smooth verses, crisply and effortlessly bragging about how “I was there at Watergate / you know I rigged my gear got the f—ers on tape / they put the mic in the hand of the wrong MC / Even the CIA knows not to f— with me” as throbbing, hypnotic drum machines pound in the background.  It is Robyn’s first successful attempt (since her hit “Cobrastyle”) at approaching confrontational lyrics in the pop realm.

The first song on the brief album, “In My Eyes” calls to mind the fast-paced keyboards frequently used by The Ting Tings, with the vocal styling of Kylie Minogue.  It drips with a sort of “future nostalgia,” a theme that tends to stick for the majority of the album.  Another standout is the heart-pumping “Include Me Out” which starts with a fuzzy, auto-tuned voice declaring, “It is really very simple, just a single pulse repeated at a regular interval.”  The baseline kicks in immediately and squiggles spastically for several minutes, providing the framework for a heartfelt song about the highs and lows of a difficult relationship.

To end the album, Robyn comes out with guns blazing: an almost entirely acoustic track, “Indestructible” is one of the most beautiful songs of the year.  “I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been hurt before,” she croons in her dulcet yet commanding voice.

The only difficulty in listening to Body Talk Pt. 2 lies in the fear that it won’t receive proper airplay, instead ceding the precious minutes of music left on the radio to garbage like Ke$ha.  Robyn is a force to be reckoned with in today’s increasingly homogenized pop world, one who other artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry should seek to emulate in the future, because really, nobody needs another “California Gurls.”

 

 

September 9, 2010
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