Saturday, September 11, 2010

Album Review: Robyn - Body Talk Pt2 (4.5/5)

Listening to Robyn's Body Talk Part 2 should dispel any doubt about her wisdom of releasing three EPs rather than an album this year. Part 2 is just as good as part 1--actually it's better. On Part 1, under the glossy electro-pop arrangements was a thread of bitterness, from the litany of complaints on "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do" to the jealousy of "Dancing on My Own."

Part 2 is brighter and faster, with more club-oriented arrangements. The charged "In My Eyes" takes a let's-take-the-plunge approach to love, "Include Me Out" amps up the synthesizers and beats. "Hang with Me," a piano ballad on Part 1 that served as a warning not to get too close, sounds more like an invitation on its dance pop incarnation on Part 2.

Love may have hurt on Part 1's "Cry When You Get Older," but on Part 2, "Love Kills," although it does so thrillingly over a bracing clubby beat. That old Robyn cynicism shines through here again: "protect yourself, 'cause you'll wreck yourself in this cold, hard world don't you know that love kills." The song references Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon where captives become attached to their captors. But it may as well reflect the growing global attachment to all things Swedish: Ikea, Stieg Larrson, Max Martin productions, and of course, dear Robyn.

"We Dance to the Beat" processes Robyn's voice until she sounds like a old school Cylon over another clubby mix of synth effects and beats. "Somebody alert the authorities, I've got criminal intent" declares Robyn on "Criminal Intent," apparently declaring her desire to engage in lewd and indecent acts. The kooky courtroom-inspired romp finds Robyn dosing her dance pop with a bit of hip-hop, a flavor she carries on to "U Should Know Better," which features guest rapper Snoop Dogg and a lot of attitude ("even the Vatican knows better than to fuck with me").

Another acoustic track closes Part 2, "Indestructible," a strings-drenched love song that refuses to give up on love. She may play the cynic, but Robyn is a romantic at heart. If she follows the same pattern, we should expect in electronic form for Part 3. Speaking of which, I wonder it will be like. Perhaps the darkest of the trilogy? We'll find out come November.

Best: Hang with Me, In My Eyes, Include Me Out, U Should Know Better, Love Kills

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