Friday, July 23, 2010
Album Review: "Body Talk Pt 1" - Robyn
With "Body Talk Pt 2" on the way and already causing much excitement I thought I'd better get a move on and get my review of Part 1 out of the way :)
It’s been a long time since Robyn released her hugely successful self-titled album. So it’s about time for another one. Or in Robyn’s case, another three (!) Yes, this is the first part of a trilogy of new albums from ‘the killingest pop star on the planet’. But is this all killer and no filler?
Robyn has her own distinctive musical style which has certainly influenced the recent crop of electro-influenced female singers. It’s clear that she’s not like all the other girls though... Those acts who were last year’s next big thing will fade fast but Robyn will still be around, because she's not a one-dimensional bandwagon jumper: instead she has the talent, the versatility and she does it all on her own terms.
A fact that’s very obvious in the first track on the album, "Don’t F****** Tell Me What To Do". Unfortunately it’s a little repetitive, with the singer rapping about all the things that are ‘killing her’. It’s, um, different I guess, but I don’t think I’d be giving this one repeated listening.
"Fembots" was the first song we heard from the album, and it combines a cute and catchy chorus line with something a little more leftfield, although the rest of the song isn't as good as the chorus.
The album’s high point is "Dancing On My Own". When you hear this winning combination of melancholic lyrics and pulsating electronic beats - a formula which previously worked so well on "With Every Heartbeat" you can see why it was chosen to be the album’s first single. Robyn makes pop music which sounds effortless - "Cry When You Get Older" is a good example of a catchy pop song and if you had any doubt that Robyn could turn her hand to other styles check out "Dancehall Queen" - electro-reggae.
"None of Dem" - a collaboration with Royksopp, with whom she worked on "The Girl and the Robot" isn’t quite as good as that track but it’s a grower as it goes on.
"Hang With Me" is a lovely piano ballad - you get the feeling that Robyn ‘means it’ and that’s what sets her apart from all those other female acts. Of course this track has now been remade in a dance-version and opinions are divided. For what it's worth though, I like both versions - which yet again says a lot about Robyn's talent: the emotional pull of the ballad version and the electro-dance remake both pack a punch.
Finally, Robyn puts her own distinctive stamp on traditional Swedish folk song "Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa" - I particularly love it when Swedish pop stars sing in their own language!
All in all, "Body Talk Pt 1", on its own may not be an absolutely classic album, but it may just turn out to be an important part of a classic trilogy. Roll on part 2!!