Over the last several years, I’ve featured songs from the top of Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop poll, which compiles the picks of hundreds of music critics into a master Top 100 Albums and Top 50 Singles.
Well, Village Voice closed up shop last year, first moving online only and then ceasing new content creation entirely. It looked like a sad end to a poll dating back to 1974 that gave a fascinating glimpse into the changing popular music landscape.
Swedish dance-pop star Robyn hasn’t released a new album since 2010, when she dropped her Body Talk series of records. That release consisted of two EPs, Body Talk Pt. 1 and Body Talk Pt. 2, followed by a full-length album (Body Talk) that included tracks from both EPs plus a few new songs.
Today’s random SOTD, ‘Hand With Me,’ appears on both EPs in very different versions. The version embedded below was the lead single from the second EP and it’s an upbeat dance track.
Swedish electropop star Robyn doesn’t seem to know how to capitalize on her success. In 2005 she released a self-titled album (her fourth) that broke internationally and landed her on the charts as well as countless critics-best lists.
Five years after that she released a pair of EPs (Body Talk 1 and 2) that were equally well-received. But in both instances, she faded away rather than taking advantage of the spotlight.
So last week I complained that the Random iTunes Fairy has been serving up too much Bob Dylan. And she responds by dropping the second Robyn track in three weeks.
I’m not sure what to make of that, but somehow I think I’m being taunted. Damn you, Steve Jobs!
Like Pink, featured a week ago, Robyn is an unlikely occupant of my music collection. Or maybe I have a previously unrealized penchant for R&B/pop singers with super-short white-blonde hair.
The artist Robyn most reminds me of, based on the one album and one EP of hers I own, is Prince. She has a similar vocal style (evident on this track) and employs a similar fusion of funk and pop balladry. And as with Prince, I find a little of Robyn goes a long way.
Any reader of Entertainment Weekly has probably noticed the crush that publication has on Robyn. The degree to which they evangelize for her is almost comical.
Regardless of my opinion of the pixie-like Swedish performer, I love to see that kind of promotion of an underdog. Hell, I’m the guy who’s in the midst of Ron Sexsmith Weekends on this blog. When you love something, the desire to shout about it from the rooftops is a strong one.
Personally, I think EW piles it on a but too thick when it comes to Robyn. She’s talented, no doubt, but they risk overpraising her to the point that all she can do is disappoint. And that’s not doing her any favors.
Swedish oddball Robyn writes and records the sort of music I instinctively reject — dance, techno, club stuff — but for some reason I like what I hear from her.
Her self-titled 2005 album (actually her fourth record, released 11 years after her debut) is a marvelous collection with echoes of Prince and Cyndi Lauper. On it she shows a penchant for techno-funk jams and gentle ballads alike and has the sense of humor to have her DJ introduce her as being “listed in section 202 of the United Nations Security Act of 1979 as being too hot to wear tight sweaters in international airspace.”