Friday, April 27, 2018

"Body Talk" by Robyn (150 Albums by Women #143)

NPR compiled a list of the 150 greatest albums created by women. I've decided to listen to these albums, from #150 all the way up to #1. But to give myself a bit of forward momentum and have a sense of when I was "done" with each album, my method is to listen to the album one time all the way through, then with each subsequent listen, I'd remove my least favorite. This lets me listen to the best ones most frequently without having to sit through too many that didn't work for me at all.

Album #143 is Robyn's "Body Talk," a 2010 dance pop album. This is the newest album thus far on this playlist, as well as the most purely "pop." What surprised me was how interesting it was lyrically. A lot of electronic dance pop doesn't venture into unique or interesting territory beyond "let's all dance," but these songs are about everything from unrequited love to the difficulties of being friends with an ex to recovering from a bad breakup. It was also great music to listen to on my morning commute when I needed to wake up for the day. A lot of the songs ultimately started sounding too similar and blended together, but a few definitely rose above to become my favorites.

5. Indestructible. The music for this song is just okay, a typical pounding electronic beat and a mediocre melody, but it ended up this high on the list because I really enjoyed the lyrics. The album as a whole goes back and forth between braggadoccio and vulnerability, and this one mixes the two in a very interesting way.

4. Call Your Girlfriend. This was the one song I knew already before I started listening to the album, although I knew it from a cover version rather than the original. I like the sound of it, and some of the lyrics are interesting, but I kind of hate how condescending some of these lines are ("And it won't make sense right now, but you're still her friend"). It's still a fun song, though.

3. Dancing On My Own. My first couple listens to the album, I thought this might be my #1. Slowly others started climbing above it, but I still really enjoy it. I listen to these as I drive, and this one is an AWESOME driving song -- the beat really feels like it's pushing you forward and not just holding you in place, if that makes any sense at all. And I'm always going to have a fondness for songs that are about unrequited love, even several years into a very happy marriage. The angsty teen inside me still hears this and connects.

2. U Should Know Better. This one took a couple listens to get into, but when I did, I loved it. The only thing keeping it from being #1 is that I'm not a huge fan of how muted the lyrics are in comparison to the loud music. But this one is so much fun, and the lyrics are clever, and I love how aggressive it is. It makes me wanna be like, "YEAH! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" and those are always really enjoyable for me to listen to.

1. Fembot. I liked this one from the very beginning, but it just kept growing. There's an intensity to the music that I really enjoy, and I'm all about songs that use nerdy metaphors to talk about love (or, well, in this case, mostly sex). It's everything I like about this album encapsulated into one song, and it's one that will definitely stay in my rotation for quite some time.

The albums I've listened to thus far in this project, in order:
1. The Roches - The Roches
2. Robyn - Body Talk
3. The Breeders - Last Splash
4. Patty Griffin - Flaming Red
5. Alicia Keys - Songs in A Minor
6. Oumou Sangaré - Moussolou
7. Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project