Oh Robyn, how we’ve missed you! After five years since the original release of Robyn, Body Talk Pt 1 is the first of three EP releases this year from the Swedish pop star. But, as much as it pains me to say this… I don’t love the EP.
Yes, there are some really, really bright moments on the eight-track, like the perfect, big gay melancholic disco ballad Dancing On My Own (which is being criminally ignored at Australian radio) and the slamming Röyksopp penned track None of Dem, but everything else seems to just blend into the background.
Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do sounds cool at first, but after repeating the same “my xxxxx is killing me” for two minutes in a monotonous droll, you’ll be screaming “this song is killing me” in no time. Fembot is cute, but totally feels like a gimmicky version of The Girl and the Robot. The beat is good, but when compared to Dancing On My Own, it is entirely forgettable. Cry When You Get Older is one of the better tracks on the EP, but its flat chorus lets it down. Dancehall Queen sees Robyn jump on the reggae dancehall bandwagon, but this time the verses let down the really strong chorus. The EP closes with the acoustic cover of Hang With Me and the downright odd Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa. Truth be told, the less I say about them, the better. Both just further emphasise the mixed bag of styles that is present on Body Talk Pt 1 and really do nothing to win Robyn any new fans.
Robyn has made it quite clear in interviews that the logic behind these Body Talk releases is that as soon as the songs are finished and mastered they can be released to the public. This sort of thinking seems to be kind of a double edged sword. For die-hard fans that would gobble up any material released, this release schedule is great. It means, in theory, that with the three EPs released this year, Robyn could potentially release 24 new tracks, much more than the standard 12-track LP. But for the casual fans, the filler that is recorded is potentially increased and this is where my issue with Body Talk Pt 1 lies.
I feel like I have been overly harsh on Body Talk Pt 1. It’s not terrible, but it falls so far short of the magic of her self-titled 2005 epic. As an EP consisting of six original songs, and two covers; one acoustic and the other of a classic folk song from her native Sweden, the EP squanders any momentum built up on the first six tracks for it to just dribble out for the last two.
If you really must buy it, do, but it would make much more sense to just download Dancing On My Own and None Of Dem separately and wait for the inevitable complete Body Talk release that will most likely be out for Christmas.
Body Talk Pt 1 is available now through Modular Recordings.
Robyn’s track Dancing On My Own is shown below.