Body Talk Pt. 2
Releasing three separate albums by one artist in a single year is not how the modern record industry typically does things. You can almost hear the pouts of PR flacks carried by the wind ("But, but, it takes at least six months to execute a proper media rollout!"). Like the exultant Body Talk Pt.1, only out since June, Swedish pop-star Robyn's Body Talk Pt. 2 is a fun-size candy bar containing eight three-to-five-minute songs. It's engineered to hold frayed attention spans for sitcom length, delivering a strong dosage of club hits, plus a torchsong and a strange left turn or two. And doesn't Robyn's plan make sense? A pop artist continually releasing is one who's continually blog-mentioned, and by the time the third Body Talk hits in December, her 2010 output is guaranteed to get cumulative year-end kudos. But, counterintuitive marketing win aside, it's impossible not to compare this mini-album to the other, three-month-old one. It's just not as tight.
There's nothing on Body Talk Pt. 2 as transcendent as Pt. 1's sublime Italo-disco weeper "Dancing on My Own," but that bar's quite high. That it underwhelms twice before hitting with a sleek electro take on ballad "Hang With Me" is less forgivable. Later, the Snoop Dogg-assisted jam "U Should Know Better" is fun, with Robyn and Snoop trading giggly lines chastising natural and supernatural powers who might have the gall to fuck with them. Ever-calm, even as a tourist amid fat, fast-paced synth lines, Snoop details Euro-hedonism amusingly enough to justify Soul Plane 2: Transatlantic Pimp (well, almost). The closing "Indestructible (Acoustic Version)" likely waits for its ownPt. 3 dance-floor reupholstering, but it's the record's thematic highlight as is. With only her voice and a stately string section, Robyn bravely promises to "love you like I've never been hurt before." Just 20 minutes earlier, she was warning that "Love Kills" over chunky beats. With swaggering techno armor suddenly absent, the song's assertion of invulnerability is neatly undercut. Clever juxtapositions like that affirm that Robyn has talent enough to conjure up three albums worth of slick, convicted pop. Body Talk Pt. 2 is just too filler-strewn to extend hope that this particular three might be consistently great.