November 24, 2008
Robyn '08: Reissue, repackage, ripoff
Robyn's new video for the moving Dream On.
This is getting ridiculous. Robyn's album Robyn was released in Sweden in April 2005 with 13 tracks; that's the version I own, shown near the bottom of this post. It has since been reissued 3 times.
In late 2007, it was finally released in the UK with an alternate 15-song tracklist. The 18-track US release in April 2008 sold just a few thousand. Wonder why? Maybe it was that everyone else, in what Thom Friedman calls "the flat Earth," had already bought or downloaded it? To be fair, I should note that Robyn was asked by her American label to add rappers to the CD, which she refused to do. Interscope may not have backed it as much as they could have if they'd actually had the foresight to release Robyn on its own merits.
The irony of course is that Robyn will probably go down as the one of the most influential, seminal pop records of the decade. Artistically, it's sort of the Album of the Year every year. By the time all is said and done, there will have been 8 singles associated with this album. 8.Like an underground Thriller! Which is another reason to cheer, as Robyn is an independent who controlled the shots all the way.
This makes the latest edition all the more puzzling. At what point does "perfecting" a record become an abuse of fan trust? This new release, also 18 tracks, adds new versions of two old hits and her cover of Prince's Jack U Off (which is worth the money, but the latter has been a b-side numerous times). Why not make it a double disc special edition or add a DVD of the videos? Why not release an EP of remixed old hits for the US and UK? She's a canny businesswoman, but this is silly. Europeans will be fortunate to download the new tracks via iTunes, etc (not so for other territories).
That said, the new mix of 2002's Keep This Fire Burning sounds fierce. There is also a new version of her 1007 breakout hit Show Me Love. Indeed, there are still more tracks from this era that have not made it to a version of Robyn, such as the stellar This One's For You (she did that with Fleshquartet) or CCC with Christian Falk or Hey U with Basement Jaxx.
At the end of the day - or year, as it were - Robyn is one of the most exquisite pop albums ever released (and released...). It's brazenly poptastic, danceable, funny, covertly political and, most of all, incredibly emotional. Music like this will bring back pop, I promise.
Here's the new cover:
1. Curriculum Vitae (featuring Swingfly) who dat?
2. Konichiwa Bitches
4. Handle Me
5. Bum Like You
6. Be Mine!
7. With Every Heartbeat
8. Who's That Girl?
9. Bionic Woman (Interlude)
10. Crash And Burn Girl
13. Should Have Known
14. Any Time You Like
15. Dream On
16. Keep This Fire Burning (2008 mix)
17. Show Me Love (2008 mix)
18. Jack You Off
The 2005 version I have:
1. Curriculum Vitae 2. Who's That Girl? 3. Handle Me 4. Robotboy 5. Be Mine! 6. Bionic Woman (Interlude) 7. Crash And Burn Girl 8. Tomteverkstan 9. Konichiwa Bitches 10. Bum Like You 11. Eclipse 12. Should Have Known 13. Any Time You Like