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.”
Robyn is a Swedish performer who had some success internationally in the late 90s as a teenager. She fell off the map after that early success and eventually made her comeback in 2005 by forming her own label and releasing a self-titled album. The new material had an electro-pop and hip hop feel to it and was reportedly influenced by Madonna’s later work. It received a U.S. release in 2008, which is when it came to my attention.
Years ago I was accused of not listening to many female artists. I had some old standbys by Carole King and Carly Simon that had mostly been inherited from my parents plus a Tracy Chapman or two, but otherwise my collection was distinctly lacking in estrogen.
Continuing the theme of one-named women from foreign lands, we jump from Duffy to Robyn. Robyn is a Swedish pop star who wrestled with record execs who weren’t happy with her new direction, bought out her contract and started her own label. This self-titled album was released in Sweden a year or so ago but reached U.S. shores just last month. Her story reminds me a bit of Aimee Mann, who was entangled in record comapny meddling after early success with ‘Til Tuesday only to launch her own label and self-release her more ambitious solo work. Robyn isn’t in Mann’s league, but she’s crafted a very good album.