Back in suburbia kids get high and make out on the train
And then this incomprehensible boredom takes a hold again
– Robyn, “Cry When You Get Older”
One of the fondest fantasies of people around my age, with the bitter smoke of middle age faintly detectable on the wind, is the notion of going back to our youths and redoing the general clusterfuck of adolescence with an adult’s intellectual and emotional skillset. I’d nail every test without blinking, refuse that bottle of Canadian Club that someone handed me at a New Years party in 1986, and most importantly of all, I’d get out of the relationship before Jennifer van Kessel broke my heart. Or at least before she gave that Morrissey album for my birthday.
I suppose another way of saying it is that youth is wasted on the young.
Swedish pop singer Robyn has essentially animated that fantasy by revisiting ’80s dance pop and, with the benefit of hindsight, getting it right. 2010’s Body Talk sounds a bit like a lost album from the mid-80s that fuses New Order-style techno pop with Madonna and Prince, capped off with uncommonly mature lyrics about relationships, fame and making music. And then there’s Robyn’s enduring and endearing dorkiness.
The crown jewel of Body Talk is probably the single “Dancing On My Own,” a song about the pains and strange rewards of heartbreak. If only dance pop had been this good back in the day. And while you’re humming along, check out Gillian Mahoney’s review of the album from the latest issue of prairie dog.