Considering all the pop singers to be channelled through producer Max Martin’s late 90s superstar factory (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC), Sweden’s prodigal daughter Robyn has proven to be the most capable and talented of the bunch. As opposed to the shallow talents whose success massively outweighed their abilities, Robyn has shown herself to be a genuinely skilled songwriter and performer. I can remember when her first U.S. hit “Show Me Love” was all over the airwaves back in 1997. I didn’t appreciate that track nearly as much as I do nowadays, since Robyn’s career experienced a critical and popular resurgence after the 2005 release of her self-titled EP.
Just before dropping her new sound on Sweden, Robyn wisely abandoned Jive, her first record label, after their negative reaction to her new electro beat flavor (influenced heavily by fellow Swedish act The Knife). instead establishing her own label Konichiwa Records, a surefire way to ensure her artistic freedom. It was nearly three years after the European release of Robyn that the album finally made it to North America in the spring of 2008. To stateside audiences that were familiar with Robyn’s squeaky clean pop image from the 90s, this declaration of her musical independence and new R&B electronica sound was a welcome departure from that tired confectionary pop business of the previous decade.
Although it barely registered a blip on the Billboard 100, the album proved to be a major success among the ficklest of all demographics, the gays. With a total runtime that mercifully clocks in under 35 minutes, Robyn was perfectly suited for the ADD hipster generation whose musical teeth were cut on canned synth tracks and auto tuned R&B. Highlights include “Handle Me”, a half-rapped send up of those overly cologned, self-important club owners and promoters everyone loves to hate.