#16. Robyn – Body Talk
There were a number of fascinating pop albums this year, like Nicki Minaj (bonkers) and Kanye West (huge) and Justin Bieber (kidding). But my favorite comes all the way from Sweden. Robyn released three EPs this year, Body Talk Pt. 1, Pt. 2 and Pt. 3. She also released Body Talk, which had five tracks from each part. All together, her Body Talks are an enjoyable and deep collection of songs.
Robyn’s music is built on the basics of pop music. There’s dancing, dancing alone, crying, boredom, heartbreak, dangerous love, robots. She hits on something primal, that when the body talks, listen. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. Frustrations happen. Hearts break. Love kills. But through it all, she just keeps moving. “We Dance To The Beat” nails it all down: “we dance to the beat of continents shifting under our feet / We dance to the beat of false math and unrecognized genius / we dance to the beat of gravity giving us a break.” “Fembot” is the most poppy song here, and the main lines are “you split my heart in two / now whatcha gonna do?” Many of the songs have her reacting to this split heart, mostly by dancing. Other times by being sad. Other times by taking on the world.
A few songs show off Robyn’s sometimes dark and dry humor. “Criminal Intent” finds her pleading guilty to “lewd and indecent events” and is being incarcerated for getting “somewhat X-rated on the floor.” (“Would you pardon me for being inappropriately attired?”) This isn’t a surprise if you’re aware of Robyn’s raunchy and hilarious rodomontade from a few years ago, “Konichiwa Bitches.” Here, she and Snoop Dogg effectively write a sequel. On “U Should Know Better” the duo warn the French, the Vatican, Russians, the FBI, the CIA, the LAPD, and the Prince Of Darkness not to fuck with them.
Wikipedia has a quote from Robyn describing one of her songs as a “sweet and sour bon-bon wrapped in melancholy,” which sums her up better than I ever could. The melancholy wrapper around fun electro pop music and ideas makes Robyn’s Body Talk one of the tastiest albums of the year.
Here’s one song from each of the EPs: