Robyn and Röyksopp,– a pair of acts self-described as “most killingest pop star on the planet” and “two-headed Norwegian monster” respectively — are bringing their tremendous live show to Pier 97 this week, in support of their first collaborative EP Do It Again. It’s not the first time Robyn has teamed up with another act on her glorious, fierce and often heavily emotional dance-pop records, though. From Snoop Dogg to Neneh Cherry, here are Robyn’s 10 best collaborations, ranked.
A few years before “Dancehall Queen,” Robyn got to try out her patois on this cover of Teddybears’ “Cobrastyle”, produced by Teddybears. She’s all sass in the video but she’s no match for Mad Cobra’s vocals on the original.
Produced by Diplo, the reggae-influenced Dancehall Queen reaffirms Robyn’s penchant for going out dancing alone. Unlike “Dancing On My Own”, though, dancing alone here is a positive force: “I still run this thing like a dancehall queen,” she sings in a half-hearted attempt at patois that’s, hopefully, just fun enough to not be offensive.
Earlier this year our hero at long last teamed up with fellow Swedish pop monarch Neneh Cherry for this cut from Cherry’s Four Tet-produced album Blank Project. Where they could have predictably and justifiably gone for a big, thumping anthem, “Out of the Black” is a subtle groove, and, frankly, underwhelming.
This track appeared as an iTunes bonus on Body Talk Part 2 and is joyously filled with stuttering beats and woops. The video is appropriately ridiculous. What fun it must be to live in Robyn’s world.
On this track from Basement Jaxx’s Crazy Itch Radio album, Robyn’s vocals take second place to the chaotic funk/marching band/horn section/Balkan folk music mash-up. On first listen, it sounds bizarre but you’ll probably hit repeat.
This track, co-written with and produced by The Knife, marked a turning point in Robyn’s career. Her label was unimpressed with her new electro sound and assertive lyrics (“I’m only sexy when I say it’s OK”) so they parted ways. Soon after, she started her own, Konichiwa Records. “I just can’t deal with the rules,” she sings, pointedly.
Robyn and Snoop take us on a high-energy romp across the globe, schooling various international figures on the wisdom of fucking with the pair of them. “You need a black pope,” she spits at the Vatican, “and she better be a woman.” Snoop concurs with “she banging!”
“Thugs and badmen; punks and lifers,” all are welcome in the warm, inclusive world dreamed up by Robyn and Christian Falk. “You won’t be pushed or messed with tonight,” Robyn sings over stirring strings, offering sanctuary to life’s outsiders. Sadly, Falk passed away last month at the age of 52.
Robyn’s voice brims with emotion in this tale of a hopeless relationship. “We could keep trying but things will never change,” she sings. In spite of the pessimistic theme and a voice that suggests she is on the verge of crumbling, Robyn fights on, singing “still I’m dying with every step I take, but I don’t look back.”
This theatrical, choral techno slab tells the tale of a girl driven “mental” by her absent, robot-like partner who never seems “to know when to stop” working. A smash from the first synth note to the final strings.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 20, 2014