Robyn. Perhaps the most important artist in pop music in 2010, at least in the world according to Brian. The Swedish pop star changed the game by rationing off sets of perfect pop songs in EP format three times this year with her Body Talk series — each seemingly stronger than the former. Part 1 dropped in June, Part 2 in September, and Part 3, a culmination of all three, will be released on November 22, though its already leaking. In a recent statement, she hopes to keep mixing up tours with studio time and stick to this new way of releasing music next year. That is music to my ears, and to legions of Robyn fans around the world. Let’s hope that means more New York performances in 2011 too. She made two trips to New York this year, the first this Summer with Kelis and their All Hearts Tour. Now again at the bigger, louder, clubbier Terminal 5. She’s the headliner this time, and brought with her the up-and-coming British phenom, Gaga-esque Natalia Kills as her opener.
Natalia Keery-Fisher hails from Leeds, U.K., and was discovered by Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am in 2008 and promptly signed to Interscope/Cherrytree Records (same label as Robyn). She adopted her Kills stage name as a reflection of her darker sounding pop music. Hmm, has she listened to Bat for Lashes? Florence & The Machine? I’d say Gaga’s even darker, but I digress. Her debut album, Perfectionist, is expected to drop in 2011. Her first single “Mirrors” is the only song I know, and I was lucky to see her perform it before her set ended. She’s promising, that’s for sure.
Where does Robyn get her confidence? Her magnetism? Her presence? Her undeniable ability to reach into the heart and soul of everyone in the dancehall and cause them to lose themselves when she performs is inspiring. I think there are a few factors. She has the ability to write irresistible pop hooks and her lyrics resonate with everyone because we’ve either been there (“I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her, ohhh“), wish we could be (“I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been hurt before), or just want girls like Robyn to be our friend (“If you’re for real and not pretend, then I guess you can hang with me“). Add her spunk, energy and style, and there you have it. Robyn. Konichiwa, bitches.
Nine-thirty lights out. Robyn’s band, consisting of two drummers and two keyboardists, appeared in white lab coats and an incredibly fit Robyn Miriam Carlsson took to the stage and performed “Fembot.” She wore her signature tight pants with a pattern that only my mother would sport (but somehow she pulls it off), Jean Paul Gautier boots, jacket and cone bra (a little reminiscent of ’90s Madonna) and her signature blond cut (which reminded me of P!nk). “Cry When You Get Older,” the feisty “Cobrastyle” from her eponymous 2005 album, and the very relatable “Dancing On My Own” were up next. The latter threw the sold-out crowd into a frenzy of sing-along, arms in the air and pogo-dancing. I really loved her mash-up of “We Dance To The Beat” from Body Talk Pt. 2 and “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” from Pt. 1. She even reprised her suggestive… shall we say potassium nourishment… with a banana as she did during her tour last summer.
My favorite moments of the night included the New York debut of her song “Love Kills” from Body Talk Pt. 2 and
“The Girl and the Robot,” a 2009 collaboration with Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp. She talked about how much she loves New York and that she spent a lot of her 20s in our fair city. With that, she dedicated “Dream On” to New York, a song featured on her 2005 album with Christian Faulk. Up next was her brand new single, “Indestructible.” Once again, Robyn has broken new ground with the video that goes with it. She wears a series of tubes all over her body with colored liquid coursing through it, making a very effective visual. The sex scenes that progress from hetero to homo add to the sexiness of it. Still, it’s the lyrics that get me. Check it out:
Robyn closed her main set was the 2008 mega club hit, “Every Heartbeat.” In the end, she got everyone in Terminal 5 to chant “And it hurts with every heartbeat” over and over again. Lucky us, there were two encores. The first featured “U Should Know Better,” off Body Talk Pt. 2, “Konichiwa Bitches,” and a nice updated dance version of “Be Mine.” She ended her first encore with the perfect pop song, “Hang With Me.” Love this song. For her second encore, she sat down next to one of her keyboardists and sang “Dancehall Queen.” She is the ultimate dancehall queen, and she knows it. She then stood centerstage in front of the mic and sang the opening verse to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and ended the night with a stripped down, touching ballad version of her breakthrough, late ’90s hit, “Show Me Love.”
Robyn, I’ll show you love if you keep doing what you’re doing. I’m already a fan of Body Talk Part 3, at least the first few songs I’ve heard. “Time Machine” is an early favorite. “All I need is a time machine, a one-way track, ‘cuz I’m taking it back, taking it back. All I want is a DeLorien. If I could go just like that, I’d be taking it back, taking it back.” Come on! Thanks for the ’80s reference, R. Love is shown.