Robyn goes back to the early 90’s with her r’n’b dance hit Show Me Love (note there is also a woman from that era named Robin S with a similar song). Anyway, this Robyn really came into her own on 2002’s Don’t Stop The Music, which featured some great production by Guy “Frou Frou” Sigsworth, among the usual Nordic pop chefs. Should Have Known is a melancholy break up song with the chorus, “Should’ve seen it coming / should’ve fuckin' known” but the line is delivered with more sadness than bile. O Baby is an airy orchestral ballad with a nice echo-y vocal. Much of Robyn’s output is filled with attitude and this song is the exact opposite of that – it’s vulnerable.
2005’s Robyn CD brings it with more excellence tracks, including a frenetic, string-laden single called Be Mine and the hilarious, guitar based Handle Me, which features the line, “You’re a selfish, narcissistic psycho, freaking bootlickin’ Nazi creep.” Missy Elliot would be proud of Konichiwa Bitches – Robyn’s first attempt at rap. She pulls the rhymes admirably in a song that doesn’t even reach 3 minutes. The thing about Robyn is this: she is a POP artist all the way through, but she has a slightly r’n’b sensibility. She is smart enough to know that, like Pink, she is a white blond who can’t really pull off Ciara or Tweet, so she stays close to home with the music. Robyn should be a massive star, but she’s admired in Europe and has a cult status on Popjustice, a pedigree that’s good enough for me.
Key tracks: Should Have Known, Be Mine, Handle Me
MP3: Be Mine exp
September is headed by Sienna Miller look-alike Petra. Her new single Cry For You is a total fehking masterpiece, with a string bed that reminds me of vintage Madonna. The album, in my opinion, does not quite live up to that song’s promise, but there are some strong tunes, like Midnight Heartache, built around a sample of Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes. The very idea of that sounds terrible until you hear how it’s executed. This record is a bitch to get your hands on, as are the Robyn albums. I really think a trip to Sweden may be necessary for me and my Cheap. Pop. Heart.
Key tracks: Midnight Heartache, Cry, Satellites
MP3: Cry For You exp
Annie has been popular with American indie kids, who loved her hit Chewing Gum (“you've got it all wrong / you think you're chocolate when you're chewing gum”) for about a year. It was the single Heartbeat that caught my ear and (shakin') ass – it’s a Europop ditty that builds into a pretty good aerobic workout. She, like many of the Swede girls, has a birdlike voice with a fairly thick accent. On Heartbeat you can’t really tell what she is saying on the chorus. Is it “Feel my heartbeat, thrill me to beat” or is it “Feel my heartbeat, drill me to the beat”?! Another track, The Greatest Hit is built on a not-too-minimal sample of Madonna’s first song, Everybody, so it's instantly likeable. If you are a self-conscious reader of Stereogum and Magnet, Annie is your dream foreign exchange student.
Key tracks: Heartbeat, Chewing Gum, Me Plus One, The Greatest Hit
MP3: The Greatest Hit exp