I'm pretty sure any reader of my blog knows about Robyn, the 90's pop tart-turned-music mogul/femme thug.
Her new album, if you've been living under a rock for the past six months, came out Tuesday. The self-titled re-debut has been getting rave reviews across the board. Entertainment Weekly gave her album an A, All Music Guide an elusive 4.5 out of 5. So yeah, it's amazing.
I'll admit, I've been downloading her tracks for months now. The album is pretty much a non-stop onslaught of brilliant music; kicking off with the rousing "Curriculum Vitae," Robyn, in a chopped and slowed vocal track, lets her listeners know: "I'll do [anything] to get paid." Oh, and "Turn this the f*** up."
"Konichiwa Bitches" is a great starter, featuring at least seven or so classic lines other artists would die for. "Count you out like a mathematician"; "On the North Pole, I'll ice you son"; "I fill my cups no need to supersize them."
The track is followed by the overrated "Cobrastyle," a Teddybears cover. I've owned the original for a few months beforehand, so that definitely dulled it's appeal for me. "Handle Me" and "Bum Like You" (they really complement each other) are two great tracks about relationships, the former quite possibly the strongest on the album.
After the less-impressive "Be Mine!," Robyn gets deep and introspective on "With Every Heartbeat," her ode to non-commercial electronica (a la Postal Service.). The last thirty seconds of the track are worth the album download alone, as Robyn repeats, "It hurts with every heartbeat" again and again until the end of the song.
At this point in the album, things change. Not necessarily for the worse or even for the better, Robyn (the album) takes a metaphorical breath of air on tracks like "Who's That Girl?" (my pick for second single) and "Crash and Burn Girl," both imbuing a Stefani/grunge lovechild vibe. Yes, that is a type of "vibe."
"Robotboy" sufficiently slows things down in preparation for "Eclipse," the only song on this album that doesn't meet the standards of earlier tracks.
The following track is sure to be divisive among fans and critics alike. Call it lyrical stupidity, but I call "Should Have Known" lyrical simplicity. "I should have seen it coming, I should have
f*****g known/ How could I let you play me, I don't even know" Robyn cries in this remarkably nostalgic track. Similar to the hits of Babyface and even recent soul-tinged R&B tracks, "Should Have Known" is a hidden gem on this record. In a poignant moment, Robyn reflects on one of the biggest failings of any relationship: "You broke the rules, but I should have known/You do it all the time."
From a commercial radio perspective, Robyn is bubbling just under the surface of accessible pop. As long as she doesn't mind getting "paid" less than pop-R&B superstars like Fergie, she should simply continue to do what she has done with this album. Unique and almost scarily persistent, Robyn has the ability to transcend musical borders. This album is a tapestry of that ability.
[Ed. Note: I almost titled this entry "Rocking Robyn." But even a few parenthetical "lol's" couldn't save that horrid title.]