Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Robyn and the innocent side of female pop.

Remember when I said I was over synthesizers?

I might have been lying to you.

Remember when I also said I had crossed over to a warm, healthy embrace of real instruments?

Also a lie.

How do I know this?  Well, because Robyn is coming to Austin on Thursday.  Her music is unabashedly, take no prisoners pop.  I feel a teeny weeny bit guilty for enjoying it, and yet I do enjoy it, in a dance in front of the mirror, lip-sync into the hairbrush kind of way.

However.

It's all ok, because do you know who else has this fraught relationship with real vs. unreal instruments?  Robyn herself.

Observe the drum machine being plugged in during the opening seconds of her (2010) video for "Hang With Me."




Did you also see the synthesizer?  And many buttons being pressed, as if to indicate "we're doing high-tech kinda music around here?"

Now.  Take a trip with me down memory lane, to Robyn of 1997.




Why, look at that.   It's a humongous drum kit!  With a bassist.  Even the guy with the keyboard is playing it like a little guitar.  What we have here is a full on real-person band, with many real instruments (and some CK1 commercial extras).

You see?  Robyn and I share this internal struggle.

To me, Robyn is the 21st century version of Tiffany, albeit with a much longer career, and contemporary hair and clothes.  Like Tiffany of yesteryear, Robyn is sweet, innocent, and accessible to tween girls.




And, I think we just need to take a moment to appreciate that.  That female-fronted pop hasn't totally gone the way of Mileys, by which I mean, sexualized into ridiculousness.  That there is a tradition of female pop singers out there who really do just want to have fun.

(And now that I think of it, there's a lot of highly sexual pop that's not ridiculous at all.  Remember when "Justify My Love" came out?  And how very seriously we took that?   No one was laughing at Madonna then.  No.  At that moment, a few might have been scared of Madonna, a lot might have been turned on by Madonna, but not a single soul was laughing at Madonna).

Lest you think Robyn is purely PG and radio-friendly, take a gander at my favorite video, below.   This came out in 2007, and Robyn made it partially to celebrate her move to her own indie label, Konichiwa.  Appropriately enough, it's called "Konichiwa Bitches."



(Yes! Again we start out with a discussion of drums!)  I am thinking Sia almost certainly watched that Robyn video, and borrowed a few ideas for 2009's "You've Changed."



PS, next time I tell you I don't like synthesizers, you can pretty much tell me to shut up.

Robyn is playing for Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (310 Willie Nelson Blvd) on Thursday, and tickets are a steal at $15.   for tickets, click here.

6 comments:

LiberatED said...

OMG Robyn 'Show me Love'... I just time traveled back to middle school

Katie said...

I love Robyn...have her cd's and all to prove it. Currently, in my running tunes is "Dancing On My Own."

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@LiberatED -- And if you REALLY wanna go back ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqFNzRaOEvE

@Katie -- Right? I've always liked her brand of pop. She's a cuddly hipster these days!

Breanna said...

Oooooh yes. I'll be at the show tomorrow, and I'm gonna dance my preppy little heart out.

Anonymous said...

"CK1 commercial extras"...Tolly I love you. :)

nikos said...

what vids where these!!!ooooo!!!