Edit this event
It’s a real shame that Robyn isn’t very well tonight. In some respects we’re lucky to see her at all, as the following day much of the remaining UK tour is cancelled, but you feel that had she been on top form this would have been a superb evening out. As it is it’s merely a pretty decent one.
What is unquestionable is the quality of her most recent songwriting. It’s easy to forget just how far pop music has come in the past decade but hearing these most recent efforts from the Body Talk records makes you eternally thankful that the grim boy ballad ridden Nineties are a thing of the distant past.
Since starting up her own label in 2005, Robyn has managed to combine punchy, eclectic modern sounds with often quite depressing themes that most solo artists wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. She utilises that most simple yet underused trick, knowing that whilst it’s great to have fun and be in love, sometimes music fans need something to wallow in self-pity with too.
Tonight we get a smattering of her impressive back catalogue, albeit a selection that’s clearly cut short due to her faltering voice, numbering seven songs less than previous recent sets. She does incredibly well to give it as much gusto as she does in the first half, but it’s obvious what remains doesn’t quite represent the full Body Talk experience, with the packed venue seemingly losing ‘U Should Know Better’, ‘Hang With Me’ and ‘Get Myself Together’ from the proceedings for starters.
The good thing is that what does make it in is largely pretty great. ‘Fembot’ is gloriously tongue in cheek, ‘Cobrastyle’ is the perfect nonsensical crowd sing-along hit every pop star needs and ‘Love Kills’ is another perfectly pitched warning about how much of a bitch that indefinable thing called ‘love’ can be. 2010 highlight ‘Dancing on My Own’ is as immense as you’d fully expect and surprisingly the tracks released most recently - which initially seemed a little bland on record by her high standards – all blossom into life in the flesh. ‘Time machine’ is particularly brilliant and trashy, whilst ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ manages to sound heartbreakingly heartfelt.
The Röyksopp duet ‘The Girl and the Robot’ feels like a wasted opportunity in a set only 12 songs long and with the band absent. Plus it seems a bit odd having both ‘We Dance to the Beat’ and ‘Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do’ present, due to their vaguely similar feel - especially when the awesome ‘In My Eyes’ is omitted entirely. She leaves her best to last thankfully, and it’s only tonight that this reviewer comes to realise just her amazing and unusual her chart topping hit ‘With Every Heartbeat’ was; essentially a painfully poignant yet upbeat song about the pain of splitting up with a partner. As the end refrain echoes around the room it’s one of those moments that you wish you could relive at will forevermore. Given a few years hindsight, it feels like a song that represents in its totality everything good about pop music in the Noughties and one destined to stand the test of time.
She leaves the stage coughing and doesn’t return. But there’s enough to enjoy tonight to suggest that when she does, she’ll more than make up for her enforced early night.
- In Photos: Robyn @ Brixton Academy, London
- This Week's Singles: 25/07/11 Ane Brun, Lucas Santtana, Inc., Paul White
- In Photos: Lovebox Festival 2011 @ Victoria Park, London
- Glastonbury 2011: A DiS Diary By Rory Gibb
- In Photos: Robyn @ Glastonbury Festival 2011
- In Photos: Glastonbury Festival 2011 - Day 4 @ Worthy Farm, Pilton
- Glastonbury: DiS' 10 Must-See Acts
- Glastonbury 2011: DiS' 65-Songs to Get You In The Mood (Spotify)