She was dancing on her own, with every heartbeat, but can you handle Robyn? Well she’s back with a stonking new single!
by Mark Keen
Robyn has dipped in out of the charts for the last 20 years, but her talents have generally been much more appreciated in her native Sweden and beyond. As Robyn returns we take a quick tour around her pop past and the melancholic joys it holds!
Robyn, born in 1979, was discovered in the early 1990s by Swedish pop star Meja who you may remember had a hit with Ricky Martin with “Private Emotion” and also the excellent “All ’bout The Money”. It’s easy to forget that the then teenage Robyn enjoyed her first taste of the UK top 10 (and Billboard Hot 100) in 1997 with “Show Me Love” from her album “Robyn Is Here”, which was released in 1995.
Robyn even managed a further top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit with “Do You Know (What It Takes)”.
And the Swedish top ten twice with “Do You Know” and “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)”. Perhaps Robyn was channeling a bit of Hazell Dean with the use of parenthesis!
The accompanying album hit the top ten in Sweden and whilst missing the UK charts I picked up a copy. I must have spotted her talent early! Perhaps Robyn was too easily written off as another record label teenage puppet.
Her next album in 1999 “My Truth” was only released in Sweden and included a top ten hit “Electric” there, but it was as if we had forgotten her already in the UK. There were plans to release the album internationally, but Robyn refused to make changes ordered by her record company.
Similarly, her next album in 2002 “Don’t Stop The Music” and accompanying singles were only released in Sweden. It did include two Swedish top ten hits in “Don’t Stop The Music” and “Keep The Fire Burning” later to be hit the charts in the UK by Beverley Knight and a further version by the Outsiders remixed by The Freemasons.
The UK and the rest of the world would take until 2005 to finally wake up to Robyn and her electro-pop return, although her major record label were less than keen, “Be Mine” hit the top 10 in Sweden and the UK and really is a perfect song, and raw in its emotions. You know by now that I like a bit of unrequited love!
However, the huge hit from the “Robyn” album would be “With Every Heartbeat” with Kleerup, a regular collaborator. Whilst only hitting the top 30 in Sweden us Brits took it to a surprise number 1. This is an amazing achievement as Robyn had left the security of a major label to establish her own label with Konichiwa Records.
Another gem was released as a single; Who can resist “Handle Me”. The accompanying album “Robyn” proved a great success in Sweden, hitting number 11 in the UK and squeezing into the top 100 in the US, as well as hitting the European charts.
In 2010 Robyn was especially prolific with the two most recent sister albums “Body Talk 1” and “Body Talk 2” which would enjoy worldwide success. The album campaign got off to a great start with the single “Dancing On My Own” which has perhaps only recently got the credit it deserves with the Calum Scott cover (check out his excellent album).
Although none of the further singles hit it big in the UK “Hang With Me” is another classic Robyn song.
There’s not been a Robyn album since “Body Talk” x2, but Robyn has spent the last few years releasing various collaborative EP and singles, including with Snoop Dogg, Neneh Cherry and Royksopp.
Robyn has returned in 2018 with “Missing U”, her first solo single in eight years and hopes are high that a new album is on the cards. Welcome back Robyn!