in Review

Robyn – Body Talk (2010)

For basically every year of the 2010s, we’ve done a bunch of half-baked album reviews to catch-up on writing about music we never reviewed during the year. You would think that because of this, in addition to our regular reviews and end-of-the-year Top 10s that we’d have already covered all of the notable albums to come out this decade. Well, you’d be very wrong, since it felt like there was more good music this decade than any that had come before it.

So for the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing albums that have never been reviewed on this blog or mentioned in end-of-the-year Top Ten lists. Some of these will be albums that slipped under my radar when they were released, or I didn’t appreciate at the time and have come to enjoy as the decade wore on. I’m not sure how frequently I’ll post these, but the every-other-day of the week approach that Sean took with his Avengers Retrospectus seems like a good one to shoot for.

Robyn’s Body Talk feels like a good album to start with, since it seems pretty obvious why I overlooked it when its album version was released in late 2010, after being released as two separate EPs earlier in the year. At this point, I was a ways from regarding pop music as having any sort of artistic legitimacy, though clearly the seas of critical reception had already started to sway in pop’s direction at the turn of the decade. Now, it feels as though pop artists are given as much critical attention as in other, more “legitimate” genres, while I’ve similarly started to give pop singers the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, Robyn had a bit more unique trajectory than the other critically acclaimed pop singers of the decade, as she started as a teen sensation on Jive Records in the ’90s. Then in 2005, her self-titled release showed a side of her that was equal parts brash and melancholy, while Body Talk built upon that with even more dance-worthy numbers. I spent a lot of time this decade ignoring more electronic-leaning music, but it’s hard to deny the way EDM seeped its way into popular music. Body Talk‘s electronic pulse makes it still feel contemporary at the end of the decade, though there are some more experimental moments like “We Dance To The Beat” that a feel a little repetitive and a little too much of a different era.

But for the most part, it’s hard to deny the moments where Robyn takes her bleeding heart and pours it all over the dance floor. It’s hard to think of a better sad-dance anthem of the 2010s than “Dancing On My Own”, which somehow managed to make the grimy, mundane act of waiting for a New York subway an act of pure joy. Perhaps it was a little disappointing that it took Robyn eight years to release a follow-up to Body Talk, but fortunately, it gave skeptics like me the time to catch up with the infectious sounds she was laying down at the turn of the decade.

Favorite Tracks: “Dancing On My Own”, “Hang With Me”, “Call Your Girlfriend”