Robyn RobynBody Talk Pt.2
She wasn’t just mouthing off, although many might have thought so. Robyn is back again with the second part of the “Body Talk” trilogy, now with eight new songs. We have no evidence that the ideological force behind the Swedish diva having chosen this format is Lady Gaga—the shadow of “The Fame Monster” casts itself very long indeed—but something of this power of concentration is there. We appreciate the immediacy of this approach: a short album without filler, resistant to the behaviours of some other pop figures, who insist on torturing us with forgettable junk. Tell it to XTina, for whom not even joining forces with Cher in that future jewel of thrash cinema called “Burlesque”, a film destined to end up on our shelves next to “Crossroads”, could change our opinion of “Bionic”. Or Katy Perry, who may be wonderfully curvy, but, judging from “Teenage Dream”, possesses very little talent.
I was chatting in a bar the other day with other sympathisers of the carefree pop sect, and some of those present accused “Body Talk Pt.1” of a shameless lack of cohesion. That is to say, not everyone was of the opinion that that all-you-can-eat buffet of pop, dancehall, and passionate ballads (even sung in Swedish, which sounds exotic to my ears) came together perfectly. The thing is that it is precisely this lack of coherency that is the best thing about the album. The blonde’s detractors, then, can rest easy: “ Body Talk Pt.2” is much more urban, foul-mouthed, and danceable than its predecessor. As if she were under the effects of an overdose of taurine –with the sole exception of “Indestructible”, the orchestral ballad that closes the album and which, like happened with “Hang with Me”, has every chance of becoming the touchstone of the third part, which will come out within a couple of months, and which we foresee will have plenty of epic—Robyn continues to show us that she is at her peak mainstream sophistication. At least when she uses the electro basses, with which she manages, in the first four cuts launched with the premonitory “In My Eyes”, to create a neuronal pounding and raise a pop sweat (not R&B) that will finally lay to rest sacred cows like Björk (and thus save her, in the future, from watching how they usurp her hymns in live performances).
Unlike the first part, which had Diplo and Röyksopp as guest producers, this time it is Klas Åhlund who is at the controls on all of the cuts of “Body Talk Pt. 2”. The work as a whole has a problem: none of the songs can (ever) make us forget “Dancing on my Own”. There is “Hang With Me”, of course, but it is a title that is far from that sublime exercise in sleepwalking melodrama with which Patrick Berger managed to leave us speechless for days. When it comes to choosing a successor, we would pick “Love Kills” without even having to think about it. This is precisely what Robyn should have exploited in the album as a whole: a repetitive chorus that is so sweet that it’s a weapon of mass destruction for diabetes, voices worthy of the most killer dance music and a melody that is so catchy, so sensationalist, that it works to make you secrete all of the existing body fluids on the dance floor. Basically, you listen to it, and it’s impossible to sit still at home when you’re hearing it.
But in any case, somebody ought to tell our beloved Scandinavian that she shouldn’t keep trying to imitate Britney Spears –this is the case of the insignificant “Criminal Intent”– or to adopt Snoop Dogg in “U Should Know Better”, which is already her second collaboration with the pimp after the hilarious joke of “Sexual Eruption”. In the American mainstream she is still seen as a pop weirdo, and it’s going to be hard for her to break through over there. In spite of this, no one can detract from Robyn’s achievements; she is in a highly privileged position within the musical panorama. She knows who to surround herself with, she doesn’t try to sell any fake poses, and, on top of that, she serves up a good handful of songs that are above average, taking into account the low quality of a lot of the consumer, populist pop that has been spat out in recent years. For now, we’ll have to wait a few months to hear the third part and to evaluate the entire “Body Talk”, but she’s on the right track. So we can be pleased. Whatever is to come will be a generous extra tip.
Sergio del Amo