I missed seeing Robyn live in 2011 and figured it wouldn’t be too terrible of a wait until her next tour. It only took eight years, but she finally came around again so that I could relive my favorite bops from my college years. So to commemorate, let’s rank her albums.
I don’t think choosing between the original or international release of any albums would change this ranking, but I personally recommend playing the original and then treating the songs on deluxe editions and songs exclusive to the international release as a bonus disc.
1. Body Talk (2010)
“I’m in the corner watching you kiss her.” “Just don’t fall recklessly, headlessly in love with me.” “But you just met somebody new.” That Robyn fully embraced hyper-relatability at exactly the same time her music pulsed the hardest and thumped the loudest makes this a pretty easy call for not only her best, but what I hear when I close my eyes and think of the word “pop.”
On the first refrain of “Dancing On My Own,” she and her band stopped entirely and she let the crowd sing it ourselves, which was followed by around half a minute’s applause. Not an uncommon trick, I know, but I’ve never seen it work close to as well. It’s special, the way this music has find its way into not only hearts, but butts.
2. Robyn (2005)
The album that marks the true beginning of the current Robyn paradigm really deserves better than second place. It’s just as much a wonder as its successor and its peaks match it blow for blow, but a slow number or two and a little less lyrical killer instinct (though don’t tell that to “Be Mine!” or “Handle Me”) keep it a half step behind. But its vision might be more impressive: even before the addition of “With Every Heartbeat,” she brought the Silent Shout-era collab with The Knife, the string attack on “Be Mine!,” and the swagger of “Konichiwa Bitches.” This was probably the most she’s ever flexed her artistry.
3. Robyn Is Here (1995)
Robyn’s debut might seem like a pretty ordinary nineties pop album, but though it hardly resembles Robyn in her current conception, it shockingly never lets up, and the Max Martin songs, “Do You Know (What It Takes)” and later addition “Show Me Love” are up there with her best. Only Body Talk is a more consistent delight.
4. Honey (2018)
Though they’re solid offerings, “Missing U” doesn’t quite scratch the Body Talk itch that many insist it does and the assertion that “Honey” is her masterpiece deeply confuses me. I wish its dancier numbers, like the slinky groove of “Because It’s In The Music,” weren’t quite so gentle, though while “Between The Lines” doesn’t totally do it for me, I think it has the right idea.
Meanwhile, “Human Being” and “Beach2k20” feel like filler on a nine song album. All this said, forget “Honey,” “Never Again” is the real triumph here, and a more convincing inspirational note than she managed on even her best albums.
5. Don’t Stop The Music (2002)
Righting the ship after a wrong turn, much of Don’t Stop The Music isn’t particularly inspired, but it’s at least pretty consistently fun. She’d return to standout “Should Have Known,” the title track is high tier Robyn, and she’s even minded to give the ballads a zippy playfulness.
6. My Truth (1999)
You can admire the ambition, but that’s about it. She does puts herself out there – the song about her abortion kept My Truth from finding its way to markets outside of Sweden – but slowing everything down and making nearly every track push five minutes runs pretty contrary to the winning formula she’d find a decade later.