Monday, September 27, 2010

Album Review: "Body Talk Pt 2" - Robyn

How many artists out there would be bold and ambitious enough to release three albums in one year, particularly in today’s very fragile music marketplace? Not many, I would imagine, so it’s "three cheers" for Robyn as she has boldly gone where most other artists wouldn’t dare to go.
"Body Talk Part 2" is, as the title suggests, the second part of the trilogy. Already well-received by music critics in her native Sweden, who are particularly proud of one of their country’s hottest musical exports of recent years.

At a time when female acts seem to be dominating the charts, and you can’t open a tabloid newspaper without daily shots of Katy Perry, The Saturdays, Cheryl Cole etc, Robyn’s profile in this country is still relatively low. Which is just fine: despite her own very striking image, she is still known first and foremost for her music, and continues to compete on her own terms.

Where its predecessor opened in confrontational manner with the stark "Don’t F****** Tell Me What To Do", the second album opens in a warm and welcoming manner with "In My Eyes", in which she reassures us that everything will be all right - "’ll be OK". This song is better than OK, actually: it’s a perfect example of her effortless style of pop.

The good feeling continues on "Include Me Out" which is less electro-pop and more electro-r’n’b, complete with a mid-song rap from the lady herself.

"Hang With Me" previously debuted on "Body Talk Part 1" as a ballad, but here it is in all its dance-pop glory. Like all the best pop acts, Robyn knows the value of simplicity in getting her point across, and "don’t fall recklessly, headlessly in love with me" is probably one of the best lines in a pop song for a long long time.

Robyn continues to get her point across on the pulsating electro track "Love Kills" which has a very clear message - "protect yourself!" - and a catchy chorus.

As with "Body Talk Pt 1" though, things get a little patchy. I wasn’t so impressed by "We Dance To The Beat" which I’d only consider as filler and no more. "Criminal Intent" is a little better, with that hookline "somebody alert the authorities, I’ve got criminal intent", but again it’s not much of a song. On the plus side though, they do show off her versatility as an artist and her hip-hop/dance influences.

A guest appearance next from Snoop Dogg, who seems to be a bit of a rapper for hire these days, but at least he gets more to do on this than his recent, lazy contribution to Katy Perry’s "California Gurls". This one merits the ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker thanks to Robyn’s fondness for the ‘F’ word on this one. "U Should Know Better" offers the advice not to mess with her, and I love that lyric "...the whole industry knows not to f*** with me". Both Ms Carlsson and Mr Dogg sound as if they had a great time making this one.

Finally, "Indestructible" which, in the style of "Hang With Me" appears here first in ballad form and is promised to return on "Body Talk Part 3" (due for release around December 2010, I think??), in its full dance-pop glory. The ballad version is fine - although maybe not as good as the ballad version of "Hang With Me" - but as I always prefer uptempo to ballads, then I’m looking forward to the dance-version will definitely improve the song.

Like its predecessor, "Body Talk Pt 2" isn't quite a ten out of ten album, but it's still one of the best recent releases I've heard. Both albums demonstrate the talent and versatility of one of today’s best pop artists. Imagine how good her "Best Of" album will the meantime, bring on Part 3!!

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