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
3. Cobrastyle
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
11. Robotboy
12. Eclipse
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


mike said...

WHATEVER! I NEED THOSE NEW REMIXES IMMEDIATELY!!! (I know, I am just the sucker who would buy that cd for the 4th time.) Anyone want to share it???

Salvador Ali said...

Ugh, I'm so tired of this album. I, like you, have the amazing 2005 version. Seeing her on tour last year was fantastic as well.

But really, another reissue? Yikes. Wasn't there a "Dream On" video two years ago as well? We want more, not more of the same. The songs were good, but not timeless.

will said...

Xo, you are so right. This is an abuse of fan trust and I feel this is sorta the same way I feel about Dragonette. What is the bloody point? Everyone who wanted the album already has it. Robyn's constantly got a crew following her - surely she must have some footage to add a bonus disc of live performances or something interesting. Or wait.. is that down the pipes also? Hmm. This simply just isn't enough to make me buy it again.



countpopula said...

I guess we should face facts that we are living in a culture now where many (not all) people simply download albums and refuse to actually PAY for the artist's work (much less the writers and producers--HELLO), so we will most likely be seeing more & more of this from indie artists who have to address one territory at a time, simply trying to get their product out there in ever-changing packages just to keep things fresh. If it feels like she's been working this album forever, I am sure there are several people who have this album on their iPods and such who have yet to drop a cent in her pocket. Just sayin'.

John said...

Last round of reissue, I said "more power to her". This round, all I can muster is "huh?"

Adem With An E said...

I do not like the new version of "Keep This Fire Burning." In comparison to the original, it just feels... lifeless. Pointless! Why not just re-release the old version, which still sounds as fresh and modern today as it did when it originally surfaced.

I was going through my old MSWord archives and found my albums of 2005 list in there and when I saw Robyn's "Robyn" at #14, it surprised me that some people only heard it for the first time last year. Bit weird, but a testament to the songs on the album which have more than stood the test of time.

But still; new material please. I'm sick of this.

VicVega said...

Someone on the forum had a theory that this release is a way to make some money from the Dream On single which isn't Robyn's own song. It was released on another label and not really on Robyn's terms. So this is what she did to benefit from the PR that follows. But sure, an accompanying DVD with some live stuff would have been nice.

DanProject76 said...

Oh for f*cks sake! There have already been 2 UK editions of this, I have all the collaborations on the Christian Falk albums and the weird covers EP!

Enough. I love this album but this is bullshit, and an example of when I approve of illegal downloading :-(

designscene said...

id pre-order that right away if it came with a DVD containing all the videos...