Bec Sandridge Has Made A Playlist Of Her Favourite Robyn Tracks

WHENEVER Robyn is played (whether that be in my bedroom, car, living room or club), my feet immediately autopilot into dance mode.

With her “don’t fuck with me” attitude, Robyn employs hypnotic synth bass lines, coaxing everyone into the club no matter their location or mood. I never thought I could enjoy dance music this much, but here I am: a long-term, committed fan who has followed her for a good six years.

Robyn somehow facilitates the intimacy of a journal or bedroom. The songs are some of the saddest and most honest songs I’ve ever heard. They feel nostalgic but weirdly present and continually look forward with focus in attempt to move on from someone or something.

You can’t pick what year the songs have been released. They are timeless. She calls the shots and is a one-of-a-kind, true queen of pop music.

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One of the coolest fan interactions I saw on Twitter was when Robyn was asked who chooses her release dates (it had been eight years since her last release). She replied in a single tweet “I do.”

She has a sense of control and power but remains relatable over time and has stayed in direct contact with her fans cultivating a community of long-term music listeners and lovers. The fact her fans have stood by her over all this time is a huge testament to that, I think.

Just as Robyn started her own label at 24, and released her self-titled album Robyn I want to release my debut album independently. She has shaped how I view my “ideal music career” in so many ways, and I can’t thank her enough for being so brave and paving the way for so many young female/non-binary artists.

‘I’ll Never Want A BF’ and ‘ANIMAL’ were the first songs of mine I released independently. A lot of people thought I was crazy releasing it by myself, but I feel incredibly proud to go DIY. Everything is tailored and finally a true reflection of who I am.

“A lot of people told me that they thought I was crazy, and that I would lose a lot of money,” Robyn has said. “If I would have followed their advice, none of this would have happened.”

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And so Robyn is here, yet again, eight years on with Honey.

At a time where there seems to be such an immense pressure to release everything right now, as quickly as possible and while you’re young, this record gives me hope. Robyn at 40 has done it again.

She has ignored what is “cool” and has done exactly what any artist should do: follow what you like. As a young queer female I want to do just that. Release bangers whenever I want and however I want, just as Robyn does and will continue to do.

“The whole industry knows not to fuck with me,” sings Robyn on ‘U Should Know Better’ – and that’s where this playlist begins.

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‘U Should Know Better’ (ft. Snoop Dogg)

Collaborating with Snoop Dogg on this song, Robyn sings about speeding her way all over the world, claiming and solidifying herself as a pop icon throughout the verses. She has integrity everywhere and she knows it. I think the main reason this stands is because she has ensured that she has creative control, she knows what she wants to say, and she also has made sure that everyone knows and respects that decision. Nobody else runs the show and nobody else could.

Her debut album Robyn is Here solidifies that sentiment. Robyn’s career is one that I would love to follow. She puts her foot down, doesn’t care about time, age or what is ‘trendy”. She exists within her own means. Almost separating herself from the average artist she sings: “If you knew better, you would do better.”

‘Honey’

This is the newest Robyn single. It feels so familiar but has a slight shift in voice to her earlier work from eight years ago. Upon first listen, Robyn feels like she’s shuffled in a more scientific and aware kind of way. She sings about “strands of saliva,” “emeralds on the pavement” and “heart of a flower”, which feels kind of reminiscent of Björk’s work Biophilia but with her classic/own club twist.

It feels as if Robyn has a new awareness of her place in the world and how she interacts with it and others. Still as direct and intimate as ever, she opens the song, “No, you’re not going to get what you need. I have what you want.” She is so sure of herself. She demands us to come get some more of Robyn. It feels like the start of something new.

‘Missing U’

Her first single after eight years. Yes Robyn, we’ve been “missing u”. For me, Robyn has always been an artist that just has a knack of capturing what it feels like to have lost something or to have someone gone, tragically. She so honestly and transparently navigates the feeling of trying to come to terms with missing someone. ‘Missing U’ is that in a nutshell. The feeling of vacancy and trying to fill that void. In her New York Times interview she talks about how someone becomes more 3D or real when they’re gone. You notice them everywhere, unlike when they are around all the time. I love how she describes that.

She sings about how when time stops, or feels like it does, that is when you truly notice details about someone. “That empty space you left behind/I still think that you’re right beside me/All the love you gave me still defines me” is one of my favourite Robyn lyrics of all time. It stabs me right in the gut and gives me chills.

‘Be Mine!’

This has been my most played song atm (casually on repeat x 1000000000). I can’t believe this was released nine years ago! Whooshka. The stabbing string section kind of reminds me of Cyndi Lauper’s rendition of Roy Orbison’s ‘I Drove All Night’ meets Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’. It’s such an unattractive sound that is so contained/constrained but so drivey, and allows the chorus to be huge and so open. I love how the drums are the same for the entire song, too. Loops for the win. There’s something so mechanical about her music which is just so cool. All this being said, my favourite part is the amazing ’80s-eque speaking part at 2.10. She’s just too cool, all round.

‘Dancing On My Own’

What perfect placement of a song. Everyone can relate to giving it all and it not being enough, everyone can relate to editing and re-editing and editing again a Twitter or FB status post breakup so that your ex sees it. Thank you Girls for bringing this song into the ears of so many, including my own. All you need is good friends and Robyn for a good bedroom boogie.

‘Call Your Girlfriend’

This is the first song I heard of Robyn’s surprisingly not via Girls. I was doing a video clip at the time in London and wanted to incorporate choreographed dance moves and the film director (Rose Hendry) sent me this link. We discussed finding naturalistic moves that were intrinsically my own/my every day movements exaggerated or dramatised. I saw this and I fell immediately in love. Robyn somehow captures street and melodrama in the most beautiful way.

‘Fembot’

Released in 2011 this song feels well before its time. I re-listened to this today and it feels like artists such as Janelle Monae (‘PYNK!’, ‘Make Me Feel’) and Kimbra (‘Top Of The World’) feel so inspired by. Interestingly, I think Robyn wrote this when she was in her 30s, considering having children, and she was arguing that humans and robots are somewhat similar on auto-pilot mode and going through the cycles or stages of life. Whenever I listen to Robyn, there’s this anthemic quality to her songs that makes everyone feel included. We’re all the same, I think at the heart of it – that’s what makes her music so important.

‘With Every Heartbeat’ (ft. Kleerup)

This is (my very rare) workout song. I’ve started getting into bushwalking and lifting weights. It’s really empowering. It’s the only time I get to switch off from my musical brain and this song is perfect. It also feels like every part of me “hurts with every heartbeat” when I exercise. I’m so unfit.

‘Ever Again’

This is the last song on Robyn’s new record Honey. My mum and I listened to this on my move from Melbourne to Wollongong this week. It’s the perfect driving song. It feels like it’s where disco meets beach and the perfect end-of-album song. It feels like Robyn has moved into a more band-y, naturalistic and live way, not dissimilar to some of my favourite releases of recent times (Haim, Lorde). The songs are restrained, nodding to old Robyn but never revisiting any trodden or old ground. She’s a tastemaker. This song is my favourite on the record.

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