Monday, November 27, 2006
If you have been anywhere near a pop music blog in the last year, you will know all about Robyn. In fact, you might be suffering from acute Robyn over-saturation. I almost feel like I should apologise for outing myself as another Robyn-aholic but fuck it, there is a reason why everyone is falling over themselves to jump on the Robyn bandwagon. Put simply - the bitch is FIERCE! In a world of talentless trolls who get record deals by sucking cock (Listen up, Rachel Stevens and Lisa Scott-Lee!), Robyn is something of an outcast. She writes her own material, has more attitude than Courtney Love, embraces a hip-hop sound without looking like a complete imbecile and manages her own record company. And yet, to most of the world, Robyn is still that "Show Me Love" girl. Hopefully, that is all about to change with the international release of Robyn's latest album. Not that she's done herself any favours with the taster, her so-called "Rakamonie EP" - but I'll get to that later.
Just about every song in Robyn's back catalogue is floating around blogland, so I'm going to stick with some old tunes and a couple of remixes. With Robyn, it makes more sense to work backwards because her sound today is a million miles removed from her Max Martin classics in the 1990s. I should get the controvery out of the way. The "Rakamonie EP" is a pile of shit!
Yes, I went there! Let me explain before you send death threats! The songs themselves range from genius to mediocre but the concept behind the EP is seriously flawed. As I understand it, "Rakamonie" is meant to be a kind of taste test for the UK market before unleashing her brilliant self-titled album on the Poms. If that is the case, why not select a couple of tracks that actually demonstrate the content of her album, not a hodge podge of live tracks, B-sides and try hard rap bullshit? It is painfully obvious that Robyn is trying to market herself to the cool crowd. If she wants to impress the 5 journalists at NME who get off on live duets with Jenny fucking Wilson, then I'm happy for her. If she wanted to impress the people who might actually buy her album, she's missed the mark but a massive margin. If you are new to Robyn, buy the EP for the beautiful artwork, the track "Cobrastyle" (previously leaked as "Girliestyle" - why the name change?) and the amusing "Konichiwa Bitches". Forget the rest. "Be Mine" is possibly my favourite song of the past couple of years but that ballad interpretation is shit. The duet is crap and "Jack U Off" is dirty fun but hardly essential Robyn. If she doesn't watch it, Robyn will be sharing a park bench with Leila K in no time!
Ok, rant over! Now that I've got that off my chest, let's appreciate the masterpiece that is "Robyn". The year isn't over but this is leading my list for album of the year. I know it came out in 2005 but I was only lucky enough to get my hands on it this year. In fact, if it wasn't for the incredibly sexy Tommie from La Toya's Haven, I would have still been enjoying "Robyn Is Here" and wondering whatever happened to her. Thankfully, Tommie sent me some tracks and my jaw dropped in amazement at what was coming through the stereo. Track after track of flawlessly original pop music. I immediately went on a spending spree to get my hands on everything Robyn has ever released and haven't been disapointed by anything apart from "Rakamonie". What makes "Robyn" so unforgettable? The answer lies in the album's humour, brilliant production and killer melodies. Basically, "Robyn" is the kind of pop album that gets everything right - from the music, to the cover art, to the video clips and singles choices. I can't fault a single thing.
Check out the video clips of the singles from "Robyn". The first single, "Be Mine", is a pop gem of the highest order. The video is suitably fabulous, with Robyn taking on various personas from a rich bitch to a cleaning lady. I love how scary Robyn looks with her bald head and how adorable she is in her rubber gloves! My favourite video and possibly favourite song from "Robyn" is "Handle Me". This song shouldn't work at all. It's basically Robyn trying to be Eminem but with a killer hook and sweet chorus. I find "Handle Me" insanely catchy and the video is nothing less than genius. The styling is amazing, Robyn riding a bike in a red cocktail frock is my favourite music video moment of the year after Marcia & Deni making fools of themselves in "Stomp". The genius continued to flow with the video clip of "Crash and Burn Girl", which looks like it was made for $25 using someone's mobile phone. I love the porn-chic feel! I'm not sure if the other single, "Who's That Girl" has a video. I haven't found it on youtube. I can only imagine how unbelievably hot it is. Watch Robyn perform "Konichiwa Bitches" in front of a room of bored Swedish people. I love how she mixes in some Neneh Cherry and her apparent role model, Leila K.