ROBYN – BODY TALK
Robyn’s Body Talk project…definitely one of the most written about of the year looking at the end of 2010 critics lists – she has absolutely smashed it, with love from all over the critical spectrum.
It was a strange project, and not one that entirely worked – it certainly didn’t/hasn’t yet commercially. I must admit that I have actually only really come round to the whole thing now that the entire wealth of material is out there – I was borderline OFF BOARD after the release of Body Talk Part 1.
Body Talk Part 1 wasn’t what I really wanted as a Robyn fan. I had been quietly anticipating new material off her for years – bear in mind the original Swedish edition of the “Robyn” album had been released originally in 2005, and I had been on it since the week of release – it had been quite the wait.
“Dancing On My Own” I immediately loved, I thought it was a triumph and everything I wanted from a Robyn comeback single, it was (and still is) absolute Scandinavian melancholy gloriousness. The Part 1 EP itself I loved less so. “Fembot” was the first track to leak – I actually really like it as part of an album now, but at the time hearing that as a confirmed track (and that it was a potential single as was rumoured) I was quite concerned, on first few listens it very much sounded like a bit of a “Konichiwa Bitches” re-write to me.
Next came “None Of Dem”, the track with Rokysopp – I actually loved “None Of Dem” straight away, and still do, but it wasn’t a Robyn track to me – it very much sounded like a Rokysopp track, with Robyn supplying the vocal – in the same way that to my ears “The Girl On The Robot” sounds more like a Robyn track than a Royksopp track.
Then came the EP in full. I was really disappointed. It just wasn’t what I wanted from a Robyn comeback. I actually quite liked a lot of the tracks individually (aside from “Cry When You Get Older” which I thought was piss weak, and still do), but it was really missing a lot of what I loved her for – “Dancing On My Own” was the only track that to me sounded like classic Robyn, the others all seemed to be oddities or a little out of place –
“Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” I like but saw it as an album intro rather than a track proper (and still do)
“Fembot” like I said sounded like a bit of a retread, but I have really grown to love it
“Cry When You Get Older” was b-side quality for me, it sounded like it wanted to be classic Robyn but fell extremely short
“Dancehall Queen” was fun, but wasn’t exactly a million miles away from being a novelty track
“Hang With Me (acoustic)” didn’t do a lot for me and
“Jag Vet En Dejelig Rosa” I actually really like, but it was more like a curio than an exciting new Robyn track.
So it was MIXED OPINIONS after the first one. The second was a bit more welcome, it was more what I wanted from Robyn, and with its release the “Body Talk” project was starting to make a little more sense – with the two EP’s you could now make your own “Body Talk” playlist, and I was starting to get the Robyn album that I wanted.
I have to say, as much as I liked “Hang With Me” I do think it was the wrong choice of second single from this album. It really was that little bit too close to being a generic Robyn track, it was too much of what people expected from her. I think the Snoop Dogg track would have been a better choice. I don’t know whether it would have been a bigger hit, but I think it would have gotten her more attention – Annie Mac on Radio 1 was certainly keen on it and played it on her show a few times. Alas Radio One were the only UK radio station to give “Hang With Me” (and Robyn) any support at all, and the track missed the UK top 40.
I think Body Talk 2 had some really strong tracks on it – most notably “U Should Know Better”, “Love Kills”, “Indestructible (acoustic)” and “Hang With Me”, with the nice but a bit forgettable “In My Eyes” welcome too. I wasn’t particularly keen on “Include Me Out” or “Criminal Intent”, I filed them alongside “Cry When You Get Older” personally, and was most impressed to see all three were excluded from the final Body Talk tracklist.
The final album “Body Talk” was when it all finally slotted into place for me personally. I finally got the tracks I had been after throughout the entire project. “Indestructible”, “Time Machine”, “Call Your Girlfriend”, “Get Myself Together” and “Stars 4Ever” are all absolutely classic Robyn, and they complimented my favourite tracks from the previous two EP’s perfectly, finally giving me the Body Talk album I had been after all along. My personal Body Talk tracklist went like this –
01 Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do
02 In My Eyes
04 Dancing On My Own
05 None Of Dem
07 Time Machine
08 U Should Know Better
09 Hang With Me
10 Get Myself Together
11 The Girl And The Robot (with Rokysopp)
12 Love Kills
13 Call Your Girlfriend
14 Stars 4-Ever
15 Indestructible (acoustic)
16 Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa
Which works for me PERFECTLY. I don’t really care what the official one was/is to be honest, the above is what I wanted from my 2010 Robyn album – DFTMWTD acts as a prelude to the album, with In My Eyes being the first track proper. Then you are smashed around the head with the pop greatness of DOMO, Indestructible and Time Machine, and then it mellows out at the end with Stars and the Indestructible ACOUSTIC JAM. If I was able to do it Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa would be a hidden track on the end not on the tracklist proper. POP PERFECTION.
I really hope she can find it in her heart to slip out my personal (and fan) favourite “Time Machine” as a single at some point in January or February. I don’t think it will be a hit, but with all the critical adulation she has been getting I think its the track most likely to get her a bit of attention, and radio play. She could easily release lots of singles off this album – “Time Machine”, “U Should Know Better”, “Call Your Girlfriend” for starters, I hope it doesn’t all end with the amazing, but already forgotten Indestructible –
EAT YOUR OWN FACE TONI BRAXTON (previous queen of slow-to-fast live performances). I could blather on a lot longer about how heartbreaking “Call Your Girlfriend” is, or how “Time Machine” is pretty much perfect pop music, but my hands hurt now, go and have a listen yourself, its a really great album.