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Well Street Journal: Pop Act That's One for the Books

Robyn, born Robin Miriam Carlsson, has been making music since she was a teenager. Now 31 years old, she has the closest thing to what Americans call a Song of the Summer with "Dancing on My Own," the first single from her new album "Body Talk Pt. 1," which was released in June. ("Body Talk Pt. 2" will be released in September; Part 3, perhaps, by the end of the year.) "I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her," Robyn sings, rather melancholically over what she calls a "four to the floor beat." "I'm right over here, why can't you see me?"

Robyn hopped into an Escalade to travel up to the Borders store in the Time Warner Center where she would perform a few songs. The drama of unrequited romance wasn't really on her mind, but rather what she might order from Bouchon Bakery. Though her militant pop isn't much like other female artists working in her arena, her taste in food probably is.

"If I have too much bread, I'm going to be sick," Robyn said, opting for an endive salad with goat cheese over a tuna niçoise sandwich.

Ensconced in a claustrophobic Borders stockroom nibbling mango from a Whole Foods fruit platter (ah, the glamorous life of an international sensation), Robyn said that she wasn't sure why Sweden spits out so much great pop music.

"I don't know," Robyn said. "There's just a strong heritage of songwriting and melody, like Abba, which has had an influence on people who are doing things that are more left field. I get that question a lot, but it's very hard to answer."

A Borders employee that had arranged the in-store concert introduced himself. "Love the CD," he told Robyn. "I'm so excited the new one's coming out in September. Is it really good?"
"Yeah, of course," Robyn responded.

"Just kidding," he said. "I apologize it's so warm back here, the air conditioning is broken."

When the Borders employee popped out, it was time to ask, Does Robyn listen to Lady Gaga? "No, I don't," she said. "I think a lot of female artists are asked that question. It makes me wonder, would you ask a male artist what he thinks of other male artists?" Probably, the reporter responded, and moved on. Since this was a bookstore, what was Robyn reading?

"I recently read 'The Idiot' by Dostoevski, but the last book I read was 'I, Robot,' by Isaac Asimov. I really liked it," she said. Many of her songs, like "Fembot," "The Girl and the Robot," and "Robotboy," take on the subject of relationships in the electronic age. "I'm a sci-fi nerd in a lot of ways. I love 'Battlestar Galactica.' My music is informed by it a little bit, but it's not about the future. It's about describing how we interact with technology, how the Internet is becoming our new face paint, our new feathers."

It was time for Robyn, who had seemed at points shy, at points terse, at points exhausted, to take a few quiet moments. Later that night, at Webster Hall, she was a completely different person: all show-off, all rock and roll. Maybe that's just what having an on-stage persona is about.

Source: Wall Street Journal Website.

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