Album review: Robyn, Body Talk Pt. 2

Album review: Robyn, Body Talk Pt. 2

Jeremy Clemmons

Staff writer

Grade: B+

Body Talk Pt.2 is the second installment of Swedish pop singer Robyn’s trilogy of albums for 2k10. Incidentally, she’s not the only Swedish sensation getting the triptych treatment this year: the film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s massively popular The Millennium Trilogy are two-thirds released, as well. Like Larsson’s ‘girl with the dragon tattoo’ (Lisbeth Salander), Robyn is shy but ferocious, calm but calculated, self-conscious but poised. Both women ruthlessly use technology to uncover mysteries and truths about their past and are quite remarkably forward-looking in the approach to their craft.

The opening track, “In My Eyes,” is a swirling electropop number that lays bare the stage of most of Robyn’s dramas: the dance floor. “Programmed rebels in a cruel, cruel world / We never get what we deserve,” she exclaims, as if she’s an android from Blade Runner or a woman whose been constantly besieged by both men and society. It takes a lot to be a female in 2010, and what otherwise might appear as a song about romance (“Just say one thing and mean it/ And just look into my eyes”) elevates, as often is the case with Robyn, into some kind of larger chorus of a feminism that still lives in pop music.

The comparisons to Lady Gaga are inevitable, even if Robyn’s been around the block longer, and the fierce Swede probably deserves just as much back rent as Gaga’s more obvious predecessor in Madonna. Like pop’s current queen, Robyn is a fantastic singer, at home with both the ballad and the club beat. “Hang with me,” which was an acoustic ballad on the first Body Talk volume, features here as a standout pop song adorned with synthesizers and warbling effects. Robyn’s versatility as a singer and composer allows her to retain the beauty and sincerity of the acoustic version even when transferred to synthpop. Body Talk Pt. 2’s lone acoustic song, the heavily orchestrated “Indestructible,” is a welcome relief as the album’s closer from the disappointing–and tellingly titled—duet with Snoop Dogg, “U Should Know Better.”

This all brings us back to Larsson‘s books, back to women who have dragon tattoos and play with fire and who kick hornets nests and all that. These are the type of women who win out in these stories, the type of women who like Robyn stick to their instincts and rely on a battle-worn attitude towards life and art.

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