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Robyn - Robyn

Robyn

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

NOW here’s something we don’t do very often – rave about a pop album! But the eponymous LP from pint-sized Robyn is an absolute barnstormer.

Discovered at the age of 13, Robyn was immediately signed to BMG who put out her debut album, a collection of R&B-influenced pop on which she collaborated with future Britney-hitwrangler Max Martin, in 1995.

The release of her sweet, soulful single Show Me Love cemented Robyn as an international pop star and saw her break into the UK top 10 and sell millions of albums across the world.

Then, disillusioned by the lack of artistic control offered by her label, Robyn looked to how her fellow Swedes and comrades The Knife self-financed and released their work.

In a completely unprecedented move for a mainstream pop artist, she bought herself off her label. Six months later, Robyn was CEO and founder of Konichiwa Records and released Robyn the album.

The result is exactly what its PR suggests – a classic pop album comprised of 14 ultra-concise pop moments.

Highlights include lead single Konichiwa Bitches, Robyn’s signature tune, which comes over like a manga Missy Elliott mixed over pixellated hip-pop beats.

Pop hounds will doubtless rave about Cobrastyle, the track that immediately follows it and which drops an incendiary, dancefloor-friendly chorus of “bom di de bom di dey diggy diggy”. It combines the sassiness of Pink with the fast-talking of Missy Elliott and pretty much blows both away.

Handle Me is another fantastic pop moment that fuses some fantastic vocal melodies over a grime-influenced beat that’s so much fresher than most mainstream hip-hop.

And there’s a jumped up version of Bum Like You that serves to emphasise Robyn’s no-nonsense attitude – her melodies may scream out chart-friendly, but her flow definitely is not!

Elsewhere, songs like Who’s That Girl and Be Mine! combine the pop durability and fun of early Madonna (circa Holiday) with the attitude of Pink and the vocal trace of Cyndi Lauper.

A couple of tracks midway through just miss the mark, such as Bionic Woman and Crash And Burn Girl, but the album comes right back at you with the charming Robotboy.

And then Robyn catches you completely off-guard with the tender ballad Eclipse, a track so sweet and powerful that you think you might have switched albums. It could have been trite but it works just right.

Should Have Known, with its Prince-like beats and X-rated vocals and Anytime Like You round things off in suitably impressive fashion to confirm that Robyn has created a pop masterpiece that deserves to become one of the biggest sellers of the year. It’s that magnificent, so don’t dare miss out.

Download picks: Konichiwa Bitches, Cobrastyle, Be Mine!, Robotboy, Eclipse, Handle Me, With Every Heartbeat, Should Have Known

Track listing:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Konichiwa Bitches
  3. Cobrastyle
  4. Handle Me
  5. Bum Like You
  6. Be Mine!
  7. With Every Heartbeat
  8. Who’s That Girl
  9. Bionic Woman
  10. Crash And Burn Girl
  11. Robotboy
  12. Eclipse
  13. Should Have Known
  14. Anytime You Like