If you know me, you know Robyn. My Facebook page has basically become the pop sensation’s unofficial social-networking site; I’ve had listening sessions with friends (sometimes we just take it in, sometimes we sing like schoolgirls in total glee), and I’ve got the ringtone.
So yeah, I’m more than a little obsessed. But the darling Swede – you know “Show Me Love,” that ’90s pure bubblegum song you couldn’t shake – gives me every reason to be: Last year she dropped three CDs, all part of her brilliant “Body Talk” series (it wasn’t my No. 1 album of 2010 for nothing), that were so dynamic you’d swear Robyn was a vending machine dispensing the treats.
But she’s not factory-made; she’s a real person, and I know so because not only did I see her diminutive frame and cool pompadour up close last summer in Pontiac (she thankfully returns to the area on Feb. 9, playing the Royal Oak Music Theatre), but we had words. Talking about how gay club culture inspires her music and her tendency for geeky sci-fi stuff, she was adorably sweet and sincere and quiet (click here for our interview). For myself, other fans of her music and all my friends who have endured endless hours of Robyn songs and videos (and my ringtone), of course she is. The prog-pop trilogy she rolled out, swathed in dance hall, electro-cum-hip-hop and dub-step, was plugged with clubby charmers that were like cherry popsicles melting in my eardrums, from the delightfully heartfelt songs “Hang With Me” and “Cry When You Get Older,” and emotional juggernauts like the scorching downer-turned-liberator “Dancing on My Own” and remarkably written “Call Your Girlfriend.” Her tear-stained anthems work just as well on the dancefloor as they do in the bedroom, when no one else is around but your lonely self.
She’s not a total softie, though, and when not singing about sadness and picking her broken self back up, Robyn’s letting her freak flag fly (“Fembot”), tag-teaming with Snoop Dogg (“U Should Know Better”) and complaining about everything that’s killing her (“Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do”). Just like her 2005 self-titled return, which fantastically cast her as a newfangled dance diva, so many of the songs on “Body Talk” – add Max Martin’s “Time Machine” to the mix – sounded like hits. Like, on-par-with-Madonna hits. But they weren’t. Robyn, though, isn’t toting a meat purse or shooting dessert topping from her tits, and that’s where all the attention goes – right to the ones who do more than let their body talk.
Robyn, however, doesn’t seem to care. In a way, she asked for this: a career on her own terms, and with her own label, Konichiwa Records, she has just that. Good on her, too, that she’s playing bigger venues on her second jaunt through the U.S. in less than a year. But even when she stopped here for a club gig at the Crofoot, she whipped around the stage with the high-powered intensity of someone performing for an arena-sized crowd, and not the only few hundred there. That’s because, for Robyn, it’s about the music. Hey, what a concept.
7 p.m. Feb. 9
Royal Oak Music Theatre
318 W. Fourth St.
$20 (Door: $22)