Robyn has been playing hard to get. It’s five years since she put out the homonymous album that earned her recognition across half the world, including in Europe, the continent that the Swede has concentrated on since she introduced herself to us 15 years ago with “You’ve Got that Something”. Our favourite blonde took real advantage of her last album, with some of the credit going to Kleerup for “With Every Heartbeat”, which made a re-issue possible in the intervening years. “Body Talk Pt.1” is the first part of a trilogy she’s working on this year. What I’m wondering is: would it have been more appealing for her to have put all the potential hits on a single LP? Because I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, beyond her singles and some of her collaborations (with “The Girl and the Robot”, a year ago Röyksopp gave her the floor again and one of her best songs), Robyn’s repertoire never really gels as a whole. At least, not until now.
The biggest problem of “Body Talk Pt.1” is that it includes the infallible hit, “Dancing on my Own.” After listening to the song (produced by Patrick Berger) over and over, it becomes a measuring stick for the rest of the album. Robyn knows that we’re all going to adore her for a sentimental dance song, even if it is a 2.0 version of “With Every Heartbeat”, with its careful distributed tears and dance steps. Still, for having put out one of the songs I’ve played most so far this year, and an unrivalled pop hymn in the form of that single, “Body Talk Pt.1” is now capable of making even Kylie envious of her pop prowess.
From the pseudo-intro that smacks of House, which could be a cross between Simian Mobile Disco and Mr. Oizo, and from “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do” to “Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa”, the album has its obvious highs and lows. “Fembots” (continuing her fascination with the robotic beings), still, is a coitus interruptus of “Konichiwa Bitches”, and “Cry when You Get Older” –despite its mantle of perfectly laid synthesisers– lacks the surprise factor if you’ve been following our star over recent years. Diplo adds his grain of sand to “Dancehall Queen” -the title of the track says it all about the style- which grows on you with repeated listening, preaching a good vibe that’s infectious. And although “None Of Dem”,produced by her fellow countrymen Röyksopp, doesn’t really end up exploiting the orgy of basses that it was destined to, at least it reminds us that Robyn can still come up with the goods when she wants to, thanks to the sensitivity and subtlety of her golden vocal chords. And there’s nothing better than listening to “Hang with Me”, a tender ballad featuring a piano and a string quartet, and which once again scores her high marks for her performance. We’ll soon see whether the other two parts of the trilogy will be able to equal “Body Talk Pt.1”. But for now, we have something to start the summer and keep us listening until the next instalment. I have a feeling that only after hearing all three albums will we be able to judge whether 2010 really needed a conceptual pop trilogy.
Sergio del Amo