Robyn | Body Talk (Interscope)

body-talk-pt1-animatedShe takes you to the drawing canvas, paints out every single detail about the relationship; if you haven’t experienced it, you feel like you have, but in an energetic, feel-good way.

 

Robyn, the Swedish blonde bombshell, has certainly been on my radar since I studied abroad in Leiden two years ago where I heard the ballad version of “Be Mine.” She’s her own kind of singer and I respect that. Robyn’s latest album, Body Talk, is her seventh studio production and it compiles the very best records from her Body Talk EP series.

Leading the album to the top of the charts is the first single, “Dancing on My Own.” With its slow, techno beat, it seems to trivially address the feelings of watching the ex you’re not over with as he moves on with another girl: “I’m in the corner watching you kiss her, oh/ I’m right over here why can’t you see me, oh/ I’m giving it my all, but I’m not the girl you’re taking home, oooh/ I keep dancing on my own.”

Imagine you’re lacing up your rollerskates at your favorite skating rink to do several dancing laps around it: “Fembot” is the song that can completely get you in the zone. It’s also perfect for a night out to get all your spirits revved up to paint the town fabulous. While Robyn represents techno/pop music to the T in this tune, she doesn’t annoy you with her hard beats. With a list of things bothering her in “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do,” the last thing she needs is you talking to her, and I’m sure we all can relate to that.

I’m a ballad, slow jam lover at heart, but because of Robyn’s specificity when it comes to addressing love, I never feel shortchanged. She takes you to the drawing canvas, paints out every single detail about the relationship; if you haven’t experienced it, you feel like you have, but in an energetic, feel-good way.

“I never was smart with love,” she chants in “Indestructible.” “I let the bad ones in and the good ones go, but I’m going to love you like I’ve never been hurt before/ I’m going to love you like I’m indestructible.” Within these lyrics lies the truth that we all want to live in love again that makes us feel safe and forget any past experience where love killed our spirit.

“Time Machine” reveals to me how sometimes darts fly out of our mouths before we can fully think about the consequence of those words. Sometimes we wish we never said them; sometimes we wish we had said them differently. If you had a time machine, how would you alter your actions, your words—or would you?

In the world of relationships, friendships are equally important to maintain standards as any other one where love is involved. “Hang with Me” is the song that can be used to measure either: “Can you tell me once again, how are we’re going to be just friends?/ If you’re for real and not pretend then I guess you can hang with me.” This line alone is laced with the aftermath of love gone awry. You want to be friends, but just don’t have any idea how that will actually work when you have those not-so-good memories in the back of your head. Robyn gives this piece of advice: “If you do me right, I’m going to do right by you./ And if you keep it tight, I’m going to confide in you.”

Channel your inner ’80s dancer and set the party off with “Call Your Girlfriend.” It’s such a perfect intertwining of dance with a slow-pop, upbeat twist, and the instructional lyrics are none that any girlfriend wants to hear: that their love has moved on to the next chick. “Call your girlfriend, it’s time you had the talk/ Give your reasons, say it’s not her fault, but you just met somebody new/ Don’t you tell her how I give you something that you never even knew you missed/ Don’t you even try to explain how it’s so different when we kiss/ You just tell her that the only way her heart can mend is when she learns to love again,/ and it won’t make sense right now, but you’re still her friend and then you let her down easy.”

If you’re ever on a cocky, misunderstood kick, be sure to blast “None of Dem” and proceed to strutting your stuff. The other side of the song explores the epiphanies as you grow: You often feel so out of place when you revisit those places you used to frequent—not that you’re above them, but you’ve just simply moved past them.

The highlight to the entire album for me is Robyn’s ability to take even the most heart-wrenching situations and sing them in such an electrifying manner that you almost forget how painful they are. She teaches a very important lesson that we all should learn, and that is to enjoy ourselves even during the bad times. Just like the good times—we dance, we smile, and we express the joy of life to others—we should still do the same when a disappointing situation occurs. These sentiments echo throughout the rest of her album with songs like “We Dance to the Beat,” “U Should Know Better,” which features Snoop Dogg, and the ever-so-Jamaican-infused techno beat that beckons the dutty wine, “Dancehall Queen.”

No album is complete without songs of inspiration, and Body Talk is no exception. “Get Myself Together” embodies the support you need to heal from hurt, disappointment, and shame: You just dance your way to your best self. If we would just look into the eyes of the people who love us and let our problems fade, we’d all just feel a little lighter and freer, as “In My Eyes” reveals.

While we all live lives that come with a myriad of experiences, from achievements to heartlessness to loneliness to triumphs, we have to remember “you and me together, stars forever.” As Robyn would happily conclude, we should approach each day with vigor, ease, simplicity, and breeziness; it’s what we are. B+ | Ashley White

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