Robyn – Body Talk review

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to an album that everyone I know instantly loves. Robyn’s Body Talk trilogy is easily one of the best dance albums of the year. One could compare it to Hot Chip, Madonna, Sean Paul and a host of other high-energy artists, but Body Talk stands on its own two feet. A friend of mine calls it “hot, sexy fun” and one of my coworkers wanted to set up a disco light in her cubicle when she was listening to it on her headphones.

Robyn Body Talk 1


“Hang With Me” music video:

Robyn live

Robyn live (photo via Barry M)

Swedish pop star, Robyn, became known worldwide in 1997 with “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What It Takes)”. She’s maintained decent record sales over the years and a regular touring schedule. Personally, I haven’t paid attention to her since 1997, but that’s not saying much since I didn’t listen to dance music until a few years ago.

The 8-song Body Talk Pt 1 was released on June 14, 2010. Pt 2 followed with a September 6 release, and then Pt 3 on November 22. On the same day, the Body Talk album was released as a compilation of all three parts (5 songs from each). Röyksopp, Diplo, and Klas Åhlund produced the album and there’s also a duet with Snoop Dogg. You can read more on Wikipedia about the release and production details.

This summer, I ran across the making of “Dancing On My Own” video and then found it hard to ignore the rave reviews showing up everywhere. Still, I didn’t really take notice of the album until last week when a friend at work (thanks, Michael!) passed the CD around for people to listen to on their headphones at the office. Other than the flawless production quality of the music, the main thing that stood out to me upon first-listen was the maturity of the songwriting. Some songs are just playful, but most of them expose an entertainer who knows how to connect with her listeners. The words used in the majority of pop songs make me want to gag, but this is one of the first dance albums that I can relate to, lyrically.

Just don’t fall recklessly headlessly in love with me
Cause it’s gonna be
All heartbreak, blissfully painful and insanity
If we agree
You can hang with me

It’s hard for me to find something bad to say about this album, but what is up with the cover art (above) for Pt 1? It’s a little too Lady Gaga for me. Also, leaving out the alternate acoustic versions, she could have fit every song from the EPs into a 73-minute mega album. I’m sad that most people will never hear “Cry When You Get Older” and “Criminal Intent”—two excellent songs that didn’t make the final album compilation. Additionally, there is an iTunes bonus track on each EP and they’re equally as good as everything else in the trilogy.

I am now officially a Robynfanman.

1997’s “Show Me Love” music video:

  • Michael

    You’re welcome, JJ. This is the first album in a very long time I want everyone I know to listen to, as I think anyone who may not even be into her specific genre can still appreciate it. Electropop has a pretty negative stigma with music snobs with an overwhelming assumption that it’s superficial. I think this album undercuts that notion. It’s more than just putting an easily manufactured beat to half-ass lyrics but actual contains complexity in the electronic arrangement and substance in content. I remember “Show Me Love” from the ’90s on the radio but had no idea the name of the artist and am delighted to have discovered such a talent through this comeback. Good review, and I’m glad you like it! :)

    • Thanks for filling in the gaps about electropop and thanks again for the rec!

  • So I gave this a listen and I’m not really feeling the album as a whole.  Now the music itself is very good.  I can totally hear the Röyksopp production.  And I’m a big fan of theirs.  So I do enjoy the electronica aspect.  But the vocals?  Not so much.  I keep comparing it to “Show Me Love” and I know I shouldn’t be doing that.  haha  What a catchy that tune was.  Now I can’t get that song out of my head!

    • Hey, to each their own! You get a good feel for her personality in this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCtvP0pdPoA