Body Talk Pt. 2



by Conrad Tao EMERITUS
September 2nd, 2010 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pop perfection, seductive and sweet.

It's hard to discern exactly what it is that sets Robyn apart from other pop stars. Is it the fact that she isn't tethered to a major label, thus rendering her "indie"? Is it that we are still enamored with her Swedish exoticism? It's tempting to dismiss Robyn's critical acclaim as a byproduct of her being a creatively independent Scandinavian, but listening to Body Talk Pt. 2, her newest studio album (and the middle installment in a proposed trilogy), one gets the sneaking suspicion that we love Robyn because, well, she's good at what she does.

Not just good, but consistent - there are no weak tracks here. Several of these songs epitomize pop at its best; the irresistible "Include Me Out", with its bleacher-stomping beat, rap-sung verses, and endearing plea to "please don't include me out," deserves more attention than it will probably get. The Snoop Dogg collaboration "U Should Know Better" (as in, "you should know better than to f*ck with me") is appealingly silly, with each star attempting to outdo one another (Robyn rapping, "you know when in Rome I sat down with the Romans/said we need a black Pope and she'd better be a woman" is a highlight). "Criminal Intent" and "Love Kills" suffer from staid production but are saved by excellent vocal performances and, in the case of the latter, monstrous hooks.

But the key to Robyn's best songs ("With Every Heartbeat" and its counterpart "Dancing On My Own" spring to mind) has always been her emotional vulnerability, and Body Talk Pt. 2 is most successful when it follows that trend. Kleerup-produced opener "In My Eyes" is a hug in musical form; in it, Robyn delivers messages of comfort and support to "boys and girls" in a "cruel, cruel world". The sentiment isn't anything new - the empowering ballad has been around longer than Robyn's been alive - but when Robyn sings, "When you feel like it's all pretend/then you look into my eyes," she isn't just preaching. You get the sense that she's been there, that she really knows what she's singing about.

This sense of worldly weariness permeates lead single "Hang With Me", which appeared on Body Talk Pt. 1 as a stunning acoustic ballad and is reworked here with sparkling production by Teddybears founding member Klas Ã…hlund. The song delicately balances sorrow with optimism, with the scale tipped slightly towards the latter - the most noticeable change in the song from its original incarnation is the insertion of the line "we can do whatever", a statement easily tossed off but not to be taken lightly. After all, the song's first lines go, "Will you tell me once again/how we're gonna be just friends?" Acceptance and heartbreak, two emotions that may seem contradictory on paper, seem like ideal bedfellows in Robyn's hands.

This might just be the secret to Robyn's critical acclaim - her ability to fuse various emotional ingredients into one delectable, four-minute slice. In a recent blog post, Robyn wrote, "Pop should be seductive and sweet when it's like a sweet and sour bon-bon wrapped in melancholy." This shrewd understanding of pop is displayed throughout Body Talk Pt. 2. It's hard to resist comparing a sequel to its predecessor, and while there isn't anything quite as jaw-droppingly stunning as "Dancing On My Own" here, the overall consistency of Pt. 2 holds its own against Pt. 1 well; it's arguably more focused than its sometimes scatterbrained predescessor. And the gorgeous closer, "Indestructible", has the teasing annotation "acoustic version" tacked on, whetting our appetite for Body Talk Pt. 3.

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user ratings (50)
other reviews of this album
Peter Tabakis (4)
Body Talk Pt. 2 is colder and darker than its older sibling. It's also another knockout for Robyn....

SterlingBlack (3.5)
I've been waiting to listen to this album for a while and, overall, I'd say it meets my expectations...

related reviews

Body Talk

Body Talk Pt. 1

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 2nd 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Streaming here:

September 2nd 2010


I don't like this chick for some reason. Just something about her.

September 2nd 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

I like Robyn a lot, but I still can't get into this as much as part one. Include Me Out and Hang With Me are tight, though.

September 3rd 2010


I've never been so enamored with a "top 40" style album as I am with Part 1. I want this.

September 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Get it, it's worth it. Keep in mind that this is a decidedly more pop oriented album, however..

I'm waiting for the inevitable Body Talk box set with all three parts plus remixes/bonus tracks...would make sense, since it's pretty hard to find physical copies of Pt. 1.

September 4th 2010


I got part 1 the other day. It's pretty good, 'cept for 'Dont fucking tell what to do'. Reminds me a lot of Annie's Can't Stop.

September 18th 2010


body talk pt 1 ruled and robyn is one of my absolute favourite pop artists but i'm so far behind on a lot of new releases so i'm gonna have to find time for this, just not soon : ( looking forward to it though, "hang with me" is great

great review conrad

Digging: The Pharcyde - Labcabincalifornia

October 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

i dont like this nearly as much as Part 1. I mean, this version of "Hang With Me" is just as good as the acoustic -- for different reasons -- and "In My Eyes" is very good. but most of this bored me instead of making me smile and dance. There's no emotional anchor like "Dancing On My Own", though the gorgeous closer makes up for it slightly. i can't wait for Part 3 though.

October 13th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Pt. 3 will be released on November 29th, and the reworked version of "Indestructible" will be the first single.

The album will have 5 songs from Pt. 1, 5 from Pt. 2, and 5 new songs.

October 14th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Indestructible (Body Talk Pt. 3 Version)!!

September 18th 2011


Know how I found this artist?

I made a station on Pandora for Isis, added the song seed "The Beginning and the End" and this instantly popped on.

Isis is post metal. This is not. WTF Pandora.

On topic though this is really good/catchy pop.

September 18th 2011


Pretty sure you came out a winner on that one

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