Robyn: Body Talk Pt 1

B+

Robyn

Album: Body Talk Pt 1
Label: Interscope

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“I came to dance, not to socialize,” Robyn declares on “Dancehall Queen,” neatly summing up the outlook of her fifth album, Body Talk Pt 1. It’s an album about aligning your heartbeat with the pulse of strobe lights and basslines, embracing synthetic sounds as a conduit for genuine emotion. Robyn’s icy, controlled vocals and cool synth textures are almost alienating in their precision, but there’s a beating pulse underneath the dance-bot artifice that captures the celebratory catharsis that can be found on the dance floor. The one-two punch of “Dancing On My Own” and “Cry When You Get Older” captures that sort of jubilation exceptionally well, though Body Talk isn’t just a series of anthems. “Fembot” highlights Robyn’s sense of humor and distinctive rapping style, while the terse electro-house album-opener “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” and the Röyksopp-guesting “None Of Dem” take the album to relatively darker corners while still maintaining a driving momentum. To that end, the album’s two closing tracks, the acoustic piano ballad “Hang With Me” and the traditional Swedish song “Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa,” offer a beautiful but slightly odd-fitting cap on the disappointingly short album. The first three-quarters are so of a piece that the subdued, compelling dénouement feels like a jarringly premature comedown. Or perhaps it's just an interlude before the second and third entries in the Body Talk series, which are due later this year.

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