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Reviews

Robyn
Body Talk Pt 2 Meryl Trussler , September 9th, 2010 07:37

Robyn is the centre of the matryoshka, after you cast off the brightly painted shells of Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox and Missy Elliot. Find her there palm-sized but powerful as cyanide. She lends herself to this big talk because she sings big and raps big and walks big, and I love 2010, and how tiny blonde girls can finally talk from about ten feet above their mouths, claiming invincibility. A good dozen of Robyn's songs, after the image overhaul and Konichiwa Records, have been about Not Messing With Robyn, Your Inability to Handle Robyn and how If You Hang Out With Robyn You Might Fall In Love With Her So Be Careful. It's pompous as hell but judiciously balanced out: on Body Talk pt. 1, 'None of Dem' had its dark, folksy counterweight in 'Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa'; on pt. 2, the club crusher 'U Should Know Better' (said pomp ably assisted by Snoop Dogg, as you can imagine) is chased by 'Indestructible', a soulful, strings-swallowed epic that could have been penned by Janelle Monáe.

Pt. 2 actually feels so similar to pt. 1 at points that one wonders if it wouldn't have been better to let the tracks naturally settle into two albums by their lightness or darkness – instead, the two feel homogenised & neatly halved. 'Criminal Intent' with its vocodered slides and mumbling guest-dude, feels just like a flatter 'Fembot'. But hot damn. Hot damn even then. There are some mighty pop songs here, all stars and fizz on 'Include Me Out' and the resplendent full version of 'Hang With Me' (which was acoustic on pt. 1). Co-writer Klas Åhlund's presence is obvious, each track pulsing with echoes of so much Minogue, Sugababes and Spears, pulsing with that ridiculous Swedish blood whose corrupt DNA strands have been spelling out A-B-B-A-A-B-B-A est. 1972. But the talents go so well together it's practically a marriage, neither one eclipsing the other. It is perhaps Åhlund's Teddybears heritage which makes them such a good fit, as it's that kind of enormous, final-boss, electronic hip-hop that really shows Robyn as the superstar she is. On that brilliant Snoop-addled song, she spits with confidence over mutating, rising synths, "I danced with the devil in Kathmandu, I came humming an' blasting with the boogaloo too, now I declare most solemnly the prince of darkness know better than to fuck with me." And there is something about that precision engineering, that stellar alignment, that makes it sound like the absolute honest-to-radness truth.

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