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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Robyn: "Robyn Is Here"

Lame title aside, this album is really... well... cheesy. Robyn had a few good hits off of this album back in 1997, but more than a decade later, Robyn Is Here is still lackluster. With its dated hip hop mixes and lyrics, the album has a very retro feel when listening to it now. Robyn has a good voice, but at times, she forces her voice to do things it doesn't sound comfortable doing, particularly with her melismas. I wouldn't venture so far to say Robyn Is Here is a bad album, but merely that it doesn't hold up today as being the album I thought it was several years ago.

What's good about this album? Well for starters, the previously mentioned hits helped to push the album. Debut single "Do You Know (What It Takes)" in its Mandy Moore-ish musicality is still pretty catchy and I can even find myself singing a long to it today. However, if released in present day, I doubt it would do nearly as well as it did then. "Show Me Love", equally as good a song is merely a slower version of the same Mandy Moore-ish reminiscent style. Both songs are upbeat little tracks about love which are still very cute, regardless of how they'd fare as radio hits today. I like them. The most unique song on Robyn Is Here is "I Wish", an a capella track about her desiring the love of another. With its memorable melodies, my only complaint about "I Wish" is the fact that it sounds a bit forced when she's singing. She sounds a little like a "white girl" who thinks she's black, trying to sing with more soul than she has. That critique aside, I still think it's one of her better tracks.

Most of the songs on Robyn Is Here sound as if they had potential, but died back in 1997. Among these are all of them not mentioned above, though some are by far worse than others. "Bumpy Ride", "The Last Time", and "Don't Want You Back" are all the best of the worst, but not really more than that. There are a few memorable hooks, but not any real depth or distinctive characteristics. These are the songs that are catchy enough to listen to once through, but anymore than that and you'll be asking yourself "why". Other songs like "Do You Really Want Me" and "You Got That Somethin'" are entirely obnoxious. "Do You Really Want Me" is based on the musical theme of the "nana nana boo boo" melody, which I find a little patronizing, not cute. On the less annoying, but equally stupid side, "You've Got That Something" has a kind of 70's vibe that makes you want to wear tall socks, roller skates, and short gym shorts. That would be cool if it was not like stepping into some weird alternate Kool-Aid universe, but it's just that. It's weird.

"In My Heart", "Just Another Girlfriend", "How", "Here We Go" and "Robyn Is Here" are all utterly forgettable. These are the songs that would set Simon Cowell off on a tangent. They are not at all good, but extremely boring, and you wonder who told her that it would be a good idea to go ahead with those tracks being on the album. They all strike me as very lazy songs with poor melodies, outdated beats and music, and stupid lyrics. Basing the album on these 5 songs, I'd give it a 2, along the lines of Ace of Base.

However, since there were not only tolerable songs, but also a few good ones, I've got to give it a bit higher of a rating... but only a bit. It's a decent album for when it came out, but more than 10 years later, Robyn Is Here would likely not be anyone's first choice of listening material. Yet, she did have another album titled Robyn that came out just a few weeks ago. Maybe that one will do better. The awaiting musical world can only hope... or not.

Key Tracks
1. Do You Know (What It Takes)
2. Show Me Love
3. I Wish

4 out of 10 stars

1 comment:

Cale said...

Her new album is actually supposed to be amazing, and Pitchfork has been raving about it since its international release 2 years ago.

But this album just give me too many bad memories. So I'll pass...