Anyone of a certain age will forever associate Sweden’s Robyn Carlsson with her Max Martin and Denniz Pop produced output of the mid-90s, which, even at its sickly-sweetest, far outshone the vast majority of what was churned out of Martin and Pop’s studio in the following years. However, following a slight lull, it’s all coming along in leaps and bounds for Ms. Carlsson as we all know, who’s managed to produce a tiny gem of a mini album in Body Talk Pt. 1, the first in a series of three mini albums due this year.
In interviews, Robyn has mentioned that the intention behind the three mini albums is to produce standout songs, rather than an ‘album’, and part one certainly adheres to this idea. There is no lineation or theme or vague thread connecting any of the songs, so in essence, it’s an iPod album. And, in this case, it works. A small but perfectly formed collection of songs, most of which have previously been available for download through blogs, Body Talk sees Robyn in full sass mode. ‘Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do’ is either a statement of intent, or a tongue in cheek Peaches pastiche, with Robyn bemoaning how modern life is killing her (and, apparently, due to these stresses, we shouldn’t tell her what to do). Similarly, ‘Fembot’, a bleeping, lilting electro ode to girls (or, maybe just girl robots – there’s that Nordic sense of humour again) gently scolds people who don’t realise that “Fembots have feelings too”.
The engaging layers of emotion which Robyn manages to inject into the most unassuming of songs is what separates her from the majority of her peers, none so obvious as with the fluffy ‘Dancing On My Own’ and the potentially cheesy ‘Hang With Me’. Her at-times immature sounding pure vocal somehow works, and adds a poignancy and simplicity. The inclusion of a Swedish folk song, ‘Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa’, sung only accompanied by shimmering xylophone, is hauntingly strange and perfect. For Body Talk Pt 1, it’s top marks for originality, and a burning curiousness as to what happens next in Robyn’s world.