Robyn bridges the musical gap between pop, electro and indie without making anyone feel too much like a teeny-bopper or halfway to a hipster. Her “Don’t f*ck with me” attitude hangs high while her epics of love lost can even help you understand your lowest of lows. There’s a reason she’s around, a reason she came back. She’s vulnerable as hell, but can writhe around on the floor in a feathered jacket like she owns each and every linoleum square. “Body Talk,” indeed.
The Swedish singer has had a wildly successful comeback after several Top 40 radio singles from her 1997 release “Robyn is Here,” which included “Do You Know What It Takes” and “Show Me Love” — which will always remind me of bouncing in the backseat of my mom’s Volvo station wagon.
While most pop stars recreate an image by changing their hair in some way, Robyn kept that boyish cut and rocked it all the way into 2010, when the three-part “Body Talk” was released, putting the girl back onto the music map in a major way. A total of seven Robyn albums were recorded between 1995 and 2010, but none of them caught on quite like this three-part series.
This past weekend, Robyn was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.” Monday morning, this YouTube video of the “SNL” crew “behind the scenes” went viral.
Everyone looks tired, yet enthused. No one can pump up a crowd like Robyn. Not even at 4:30 a.m., when you start to approach that weird “campy” stage of exhaustion due to serious procrastination. Not even when the lyrics evoke such sadness. It’s the bitchin’ beat, the swell of her voice, that moment when every element comes together and you just wanna jump up and down. Hey, where’d all those flashlights come from?
The single, “Call Your Girlfriend,” is as soul-crushing as it is uplifting. “Don’t you tell her how I give you something that you never even knew you missed/Don’t you even try and explain how it’s so different when we kiss.” A love found, a love lost. Swedish girl group Erato does a great interpretation. Performed a capella at a kitchen table, these women need nothing more than a few empty cottage cheese containers to turn their cover into something special.
Do you have a favorite Robyn cover? Leave me with your best linkage.
Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.