Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Listen: Robyn - "Call Your Girlfriend" and "Time Machine"

With just under two weeks to go until the final installment in Robyn's ambitious and deliriously fantastic Body Talk trilogy, the Swedish dance diva has returned to the States for her second U.S. tour this year, this time as a solo headliner (British dance-pop singer Natalia Kills joins her to open), and yesterday two of the five new tracks set for the third release, which collects five tracks from each of the two previously released Body Talk EPs to make up one helluva killer full-length set, appeared as if by magic to hold us over and whet our appetites all at once. Word has it that the opening stop in Miami last Friday played to well under half capacity, which is both incredible and terribly frustrating as Robyn is easily - far and away - the best live performer currently working in pop music. It's a superlative for which I can personally vouch after catching the first stop of the "All Hearts Tour," her recent joint venture with R&B-turned-dance singer Kelis this summer, and eagerly look forward to confirming at her Los Angeles stop, one week from today.

The first, "Call Your Girlfriend," is a deceptively inventive electropop tidal wave, wherein the timelessly adorable singer takes on the role of the other woman, instructing her lover to give his ball and chain a Dear John already - even helpfully micromanaging the details of letting the wronged one down easy, but only because it'll get the job done faster, all with the same disarming sweetness that gave "you're a selfish, narcissistic, psycho-freakin' boot-licking, slimy pimp" its lingering bite in her 2005 single "Handle Me."

The second marks a reunion with none other than Max Martin, the now famous Swedish pop producing legend who first brought Robyn to fame over a decade ago with her 1997 debut album Robyn is Here, which exploded in Europe and sent two singles to the top ten of the US singles chart. Robyn and Martin haven't collaborated since then, despite their geographic proximity (both are still based in Sweden, which, let's face it, ain't all that big), but on the aptly titled "Time Machine" the now veteran hitmakers create music as sweet as it was then and could possibly be now with a near flawless track that perfectly represents the kind of confident, thoughtful, layered and understated expertise with which both artists have come to show in their artistry. It's a track I may likely choose to explore and discuss further but I wanted to share before anything else, both for the general welfare of anyone fortunate enough to stumble upon the blog and, on a semi-cryptic personal note, because it happens to relay a message and sentiment I need to express to a certain special person to whom I'm dedicating this post.

What do you think? Are you convinced, as many critics now seem to be, that Robyn really can do no wrong? Nor, for that matter, Max Martin? Comment away!


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