Last time I discussed what happens when female artists imagine themselves having sex with robots. This time, I'm more interested in what happens when they imagine themselves as robots.
Read on for more about Robyn and Björk.
Our undying love of all things Robyn is no secret. Her catchy jams, fembot sensibility, and all-around awesomeness make her impossible to resist! So of course I was unable to resist attending her show here in Portland over the weekend, and I'm glad I didn't. More after the jump!
(Here is a video of Robyn's grand finale performance, a mash-up of—wait for it—"Dancing Queen" and "Show Me Love"! FYI, I was too short to record video at the Portland show, so this is from an earlier appearance on the same tour.)
But the dancefloor has always done it for me. Doesn't matter much what kind of music. In my days as a spookyweird kid in New Orleans it was goth night and punk shows, doing the cobweb-pull (goth inside joke) or slamming into other bodies in the pit, wearing my bruises as a badge of honor. I'm mostly too old (or fragile!) for that at punk shows now but at age 30 still got myself a tattoo as a reminder, paraphrasing Emma Goldman's famous, possibly-apocryphal line "It's not my revolution if I can't dance to it."
I've written about Robyn a lot, I know. This has, as I've mentioned, been the Year of Robyn for me. But this video hit last week and aside from being steamy, sent me spiraling off into a train of thought that I couldn't keep to myself.
Talking with a friend about the video and the tubes full of liquid that Robyn is wrapped in, I used the term "abstract futurism," which is totally me being pretentious. And yet, the tone of a lot of Robyn's songs, both on the Body Talk recordings and her previous work, evokes a world of robots and a world of love--the visual best suited was maybe already snagged by Bjork for "All Is Full Of Love".
Because I'm not a musician, I'm a writer, I tend to like and analyze and pick at the lyrics of songs. But at the same time, to be any sort of a pop music critic I have to look at the whole package, not just the lyrics. Each part of a pop song is a deliberate choice, and sometimes those choices deliberately contradict one another, undercut one meaning and substitute another, add layer upon layer and give you things to think about with each listen.
Or: How Robyn Released Three Albums in a Year And Kept Them Interesting.
When I look back at 2010, it will probably have been the Year of Robyn. It was the Year of Pop Music for me, really, but I came back to Robyn again and again. Part of that was accidental—I finally sat down and listened to Robyn, really absorbed that a really great dance-pop track was as brilliant an achievement as a really great, multilayered indie rock song.
It's something I can never quite put my finger on but I use certain songs to play my own emotions like a musical instrument, to change the way I feel (as long as I can handle feeling something intensely).