First Listen: Robyn – Robyn

The first thing I notice after Robyn’s scary black false nails on the cover is the glossiness of the booklet – if it was any glossier it would be wet! Apart from that it’s a bit of a rubbish booklet as all it has is pictures of Robyn in exactly the same outfit and position, just with different expressions on her face. One of them looks so unlike her, I swear it is actually a stand in – perhaps she got bored of standing in that same pose so long. The pictures are alternated with plain black pages and there is no writing – all the credits are squashed onto the CD. I guess it’s kind of clever in a subversive way but it seems more like a waste of space that she could use to show off how fun she clearly is. Anyway, on with the music:

1. Curriculum Vitae (ft. Swingfly)
This is basically an intro with bizarre but absolutely hilarious talky bits. However, the funniest bit is probably unintentional – when Swingfly says “excape”, clearly meaning “escape”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Swede slip up on their English pronunciation before so this is a bit of a victory – they’re not perfect after all! If you’re wondering who Swingfly actually is, you may recognise his voice from the song Hey Boy by ace Swedish hip-poppers Teddybears Sthlm, whose member Klas Ahlund produced most of this album (he has also worked with the Caesars, who I have recently discovered to share a few members with Teedybears Sthlm). I love Hey Boy, but even better is their song Hiphopper which is undoubtedly the best hip-hop song I’ve ever heard. In this song Swingfly introduces Robyn, taking up more of the song than she does. Read the lyrics on her site cos they really are hilarious!

2. Who’s That Girl
I already knew that The Knife (aka Karin and Olof Dreijer) worked on this album but as soon as I heard the first few seconds of this song, I knew this must be their track, so I checked (annoyingly I had to take the CD out of the computer to do so) and I was right. If you haven’t heard any of their songs, download Heartbeats now – it’s very ace. They have their own unique brand of very cool, very Swedish Europop and this is one of the best songs Robyn has done. If you only know Robyn from Show Me Love, listen to this to see quite how far she’s come and how brilliantly she has done since then. This surely has to be a single at some point?

3. Handle Me
This is a little more like Robyn’s last album, Don’t Stop The Music – it’s a mixture of the sensational Blow My Mind or her attitude-fuelled original version of Keep This Fire Burning. This is just what I love about Robyn. She manages to seem like the sweetest girl on the planet and at the same time the fiercest. This is one strong woman, but she’s not alienating in it – really extremely endearing.

4. Robotboy
This is the ballad I mentioned in an earlier post about this album. Not many pop stars would do a love song about a robot. It’s still full-on electronic but really extremely sweet and lovely too. How manay ballads have you heard with line, “let your x-ray shine”. Robyn is certainly not following the rules of your regular pop star, not even the ace Swedish kind – she is different and with her utter adorableness, she totally pulls it off.

5. Be Mine!
I didn’t add the !, that’s actually the title. A bit like Boom! except they were rubbish. This is of course Robyn’s most recent single and we all know it is supremely excellent. It fits in perfectly with the songs around it, which singles, particularly ones I’ve played a lot, can sometimes fail to do. I think a sign of a good album is when the single doesn’t stand out, not because it’s so rubbish but because the album is so consistent. It was the perfect choice for the first single off this album, shown by the success of the single and the album (a no.1 hit in Sweden, well done Robyn!).

6. Bionic Woman (Interlude)
This is only 16 seconds – over before you hardly know it’s began. It might as well be the start of the next track, but then we wouldn’t have a track called Bionic Woman, so we’d all be losing out!

7. Crash & Burn Girl
More of the electro-r&b-pop Robyn is best at, this is very cool sounding. I can actually imagine this being a massive dance hit if it was released under a pseudonym. Not that it being by Robyn would really effect it as she’s barely known in the UK, but it would be really interesting to see if she could get a hit if the song was marketed to an entirely different audience. I wonder how many of Robyn’s fans would like it if they thought it was by a faceless dance act?

8. Tomteverkstan (Interlude)
I wonder what that means – something in Swedish obviously. It’s 30 seconds long and is just Robyn discussing the next track eg. “yeah, then the snare” and “pick that up!”

9. Konichiwa Bitches
…are much better than Harajuku Girls! Although that is one the weakest tracks on LAMB. This song is full of feisty lyrics and weird sound effects. Robyn is actually rapping! The most genius part of all is at the very end, when Robyn raps “tape you up good put you in the trunk”, then you hear the sound of the trunk (ie. car boot) closing and the last line (“see you next tuesday, you is a punk”) is all muffled. Just try and tell me that’s not genius at work play! It just goes to show that if Eminem had got a cool girl like Robyn to sing on Stan instead of Dido it would have been him in the “trunk”, and then he wouldn’t have been able to crucify Toy Soldiers and we’d all be much happier.

10. Bum Like You
If you had to guess which songs on this album were love songs from the titles, you’d be mad to pick this one. But you’d also be right! It has to be by far the loveliest song about bums, although I can’t actually think of any more so it slightly empty praise, but really this is a lovely song!

11. Eclipse
I can’t believe this was produced by the man behind lyrics such as…well, I’d rather not type them out! It’s a proper ballad and a beautiful one too. Robyn continues to amaze me with her versatility, to go from the girl who shuts people in “trunk”s to this sensitive, gentle thing, where the words are at times barely audible (or maybe I’ve just listened to too much loud music!).

12. Should Have Known
This is a track from Don’t Stop The Music, presumably a radio edit or something but it does sound the same to me so I’m not quite sure why it’s here. It is a great song though – one of the first (that I heard) to show her angel/devil act with all the swearing in the chorus. Perhaps Klas chose it?

13. Anytime You Like
Another slow one. I’d prefer something more excing to close the CD as this is not as good as the other ballads on the CD, in my opinion. I was also a little disappointed that there wasn’t an extra track tagged onto the end of this one as there was a lovely bonus track, which I believe was a cover of a Swedish classic hit, on DSTM.

To buy ‘Robyn’ (not Robyn herself, sadly – I’d like to have her following me round all day, it would certainly make life more interesting) click here.
For more info, full lyrics and clips, visit her official site here.

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