Just when I was starting to fall in love with Robyn all over again thanks to the amazing re-worked version and hot remixes of "Hang With Me", part 2 of her "Body Talk" opus leaks and it's just as aimless and pretentious as the first. Fans are already working themselves into a frenzy - calling it a stunning return to form - but they are probably the same bitches that declared Kelis' "Flop Tone" the album of the year. Apart from the aforementioned lead single, nothing on "Body Talk Part 2" comes close to matching the genius of "Dancing On My Own". The 8 track disappointment is polluted by the same overproduced beats and deluded bragging that made the first installment such a bore. Frustratingly, I know the real Robyn is still in there somewhere. The lyrics to "Love Kills" mine the same rich vein of creativity that spawned "Bum Like You" and "Handle Me", while "Indestructible" ranks as one of the prettiest ballads the fading star has ever recorded. By the end of the "Body Talk" debacle, I have no doubt Robyn will have produced 10 tracks worthy of her stellar back catalogue but by then how many people will still care? Not many - if the first installment's not so lofty #47 chart peak in the UK is any indication.
In My Eyes - 5/10
"Body Talk Part 2" picks up where "Part 1" left off - with a thunderstorm of clinical bleeps and beeps. "In My Eyes" would make an interesting instrumental but the heavy beats smother the lyrics - turning it into a strangely lifeless listening experience. It's a shame because there's a nice song hiding in there. I like the sentiment and think the chorus has potential. The production just needed to be reigned back to showcase the subtle melody and Robyn's lovely vocal (when you can actually hear it). Not a promising start.
Include Me Out - 1/10
So I like the intro and the opening synth that hums like a dying bee. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. The production sounds like it was lifted straight off "The E.N.D." - which would normally be a compliment but this hip hop meets electro concoction is an epic fail. There is no discernible melody, the chorus is non-existent and the lyrics are a major embarrassment. "Can I get a bam bam for all of my whatchamacallits doin' whatever and with whoever they like?" FUCK OFF.
Hang With Me - 10/10
Sigh. The Robyn I spent 15 years worshipping makes a welcome return on this delicious anthem. I was incredibly harsh about the acoustic version of "Hang With Me" in my "Body Talk Part 1" review but it grew on me ruthlessly and the brilliant remixes eventually won me over (Avicii's stunning floorfiller is my favourite). Amazingly, this version is even better. The soaring production is epic and very reminiscent of "Dancing On My Own" without being derivative. It should be noted that this is a cover of a song Klas Åhlund wrote for Paola in 2002 but Robyn really makes it her own. She sounds amazing on this and I love how the lazer like synths and icy beats actually evoke emotion instead of suffocating it. Can't Robyn see that she is effortlessly cool when she just does her 'pop' thing without trying to be the next M.I.A./Uffie?
Love Kills - 9/10
And the award for the best new song on "Body Talk Part 2" goes to the fabulously accurate "Love Kills". I love the dark and slightly eerie production, while the lyrics are vintage Robyn. "If you're looking for love get a heart made of steel 'cause you know that love kills". Amen. Everything about this brooding anthem is fresh and original. It's not the most commercial track the Swedish diva has ever recorded but the chorus is positively hypnotic and the multitude of quirky hooks results in the album's catchiest tune. Consider this the "Dancehall Queen" of "Part 2". I'd love to know who produced it. I'll take a punt on Diplo.
We Dance to the Beat - 0/10
Criminal Intent - 4/10
"Criminal Intent" is so bad it's almost good. Almost. Again the production is intricate and interesting but completely overpowers the lyrics - which is probably for the best in this case. Robyn needs to stop singing about ruling the dancefloor. Anyone who watched the "Dancing On My Own" video knows she's a worse dancer than Sophie Ellis-Bextor and please keep a lid on the dirty lyrics. The idea of Sweden's favourite troll engaging in any kind of erotic activity is enough to make me vomit.
U Should Know Better (featuring Snoop Dogg) - 6/10
Now this shit is tragic. Which is probably why I find it so endearing. Basically, Robyn and Snoop brag about how successful and cool they are. There's a lot of swearing and name dropping - not to mention some of the worst rhymes in recent musical history. For Robyn's sake, I really hope this is a piss take.
Indestructible (Acoustic Version) - 8/10
Given the 'acoustic version' label, I assume we'll be getting an electro version on "Body Talk Part 3". Fingers crossed because this is beautiful. I love a good Robyn ballad - unlike the vast majority of Swedish pop stars, she has a unique voice and really knows how to interpret a lyric - and "Indestructible" is one of the best she's recorded since "My Truth". The strings are lovely, while the gorgeous lyrics showcase the diva's softer side. "I never was smart with love, I let the bad ones in and the good ones go". A nice way to conclude the latest "Body Talk" disappointment.
"Body Talk Part 2" is released in the UK on the 6th of September. An Australian release will follow shortly thereafter if Modular can still be bothered given the grim chart performance of the first installment. In the meantime, revel in the brilliance of "Hang With Me" (below). I want a physical single with the Avicii remix!