Single: Robyn – “Dancing on my own” (2010)

Oh I love a bit of Robyn. At least now I do. After her brief time as a semi-major pop star during the late 90s, it was a pleasant surprise to see her rise to the global scene one more in the latter half of the 00’s with her eponymous album and flagship single “With every heartbeat”. After a modestly successful album campaign, things went rather quiet until 2010 (a long time since “Robyn” was originally released in Scandinavia in 2005).

She returned with an ambitious trilogy of “Body Talk” albums, released over the course of 2010, culminating in Parts 1 & 2 being thinned out and combined with a handful of new tracks to form the final “Body Talk” package. And a brilliant package it is too, one that I frequently revisit when I want some beat-driven pop that’s not so cool it disappears up its own backside.

“Body Talk Part 1” was launched with this incredible song, which gave her a first #1 in her native Sweden, another UK top 10 hit and even a Grammy nomination.

Perhaps it seems that she’s in danger of typecasting, having had a few morose dance-pop singles in the past, notably “Be mine!” and “With every heartbeat” that explore the difficulties of failing or failed relationships. But in my opinion, while they are both brilliantly crafted, “Dancing on my own” really raises the bar.

A constant hammering electro tempo with a steady beat soundtrack this tale of a night at a club, with Robyn spotting her love with someone else, and desperately trying to be noticed but sadly having to resign herself to dancing alone. A vividly relatable feeling for some, and the sadness in the additional production really drives the point home.

It’s all the more potent to hear it from a woman like Robyn, often singing with a strong sense of self and bravado, but now totally broken. It just works on every level for me, perfectly executed. That middle eight where that tempo finally pauses briefly is really beautiful.

The “Body Talk” saga might not have quite delivered on its ambition, but I think the collection is a pretty special set that will keep me excited to hear more from Robyn. The singles campaign isn’t how I would have played it at all. Launching “Body Talk Part 2” with “Hang with me” instead of the commerical Snoop-collaboration “U should know better” was a real missed opportunity. The final “Body Talk” album’s promotion with “Call your girlfriend” was a good call, but came months too late.

But never mind, as long as she’s got something as good as this next time, I’m happy.

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