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Robyn - 'Dancing On My Own'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:32 UK time, Saturday, 12 June 2010


Whoah! What happened to the fragile waif who was hurt by every heartbeat? Has she been doing emotional pushups? Has she bought some feelings kevlar? Are those clickysticks (technically known as claves, fact fans) actually the sound of two skulls being smashed together? The skulls of her enemies, stripped clean of their flesh by her malevolent stare?

Well no, that would be ghoulish, but there's something punishingly tough about this song. And not just the hammerdrill throbbing synth, although that does set the tone admirably, being the sonic equivalent of sticking your face in a rotary fan*, and feeling nowt.

No, the toughness lies in her ability to express total agony, and total assurance at the same time, via the medium of a plaintive chorus.

(Here's the video. It features a microphone stand with no microphone. This is a metaphor for what is going on in the song. DO YOU SEE?)

For all that Robyn's voice always comes ready-packed with a whole world of pain and anguish, she's putting on a massively brave face for some wassock who is off snogging someone else while she watches from the corner of the club. But get this, it's not the mask of someone who wishes to deny that there is anything wrong. No, Robyn is so hard, so unremittingly bloody NAILS that she can express her full agony in watching this clinch, down to every last detail, and then go off and have a dance.

It's not a carefree kind of bop, she's not attempting to put her troubles behind her and maybe pick up someone else as an act of revenge, she is going to dance, on her own, just like she always does. Everyone can see she's hurting, but is she gonna curl up and sob? NO BLIMMING WAY. There are other ways to exorcise the pain.

And even when the music stops, and the wassocksnog continues, she's STILL fronting it all out. She goes over to say goodbye, and goes back to dancing. And why?

Because STUFF YOU, that's why.

Five starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Spin Or Bin says: "Tthis electropop ballad is beautifully affecting and poignant. It is friggin' eargasmic!"

XO's Middle Eight says: "At her best, Robyn delivers something deeper than what the pop charts allow."

The Singles Jukebox says: "This is a definite improvement over the rinky-dink nonsense of 'Fembot,' since it plays on Robyn's dubious virtues rather than her obvious flaws."


  • Comment number 1.

    Beautiful, moving, angsty, smothered in emotion. This song is undeniably one of Robyn's best.

    The chorus has so much sorrow in it it's hard not to really empathise Robyn's misfortune during the song - "I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the girl your taking home": such a simple line, sung in such a melacholy way. This is one huge song that contains so much confusion and remorse it's impossible not to love it.

    And I agree with Fraser, the metaphor of the microphone stand with no microphone in it: a metaphor for Robyn, and how despite her singing at the top of her voice, her boyfriend still won't hear her, because it's as if her voice has been removed.

    A clear 5 star song.

  • Comment number 2.

    I absolutely love this song. In many ways it's the perfect pop record - catchy, danceable, sublimely-produced, and with lyrics many people will relate to, and you can really feel the emotion and sadness from Robyn. 5 stars all the way. No-one makes these kind of songs as well as her.

    I have everything crossed for it to get the success it deserves. Robyn is so under-appreciated, I suppose it's easy to take her music at face value, but perhaps if more people looked beyond that and appreciated it's true quality, perhaps Robyn would be a bigger star than she is now.

  • Comment number 3.

    agreed with above - robyn is so underrated - but i think i kind of like it that way? not sure.

    anyway, this song is great - agree with all the above - no one does stuff like her and this is exactly the kind of song she does so well.

    love love love it. - been waiting for this blog post ;-)

    am listening to her album - pre ordered and it arrived early :-) can't wait for her London gig thursday.
    and i hadnt noticed the no microphone!

  • Comment number 4.

    Robyn is great and falls into a category of artist who will always just miss out on huge popularity because they don't quite have the look/are just too old for the crowd which their music is aimed at. This is unjust because her music is really well written, well produced and lyrically very mature. Unfortunately, apart from "every heartbeat" she hasn't got any no arguments, knock them dead, this is brilliant, tunes to speak of.

  • Comment number 5.

    Had to come back when I saw you reviewed this song. It's fantastic, such a dance vibe while at the same time being quite sad. The video's brilllll too. :D

  • Comment number 6.

    This song is absolutely stunning. I think Robyn's a bit hit and miss but I really love this melancholy song and love the video too. You've got to love Robyn and her crazy dance moves.

    I kind of compare Robyn and Kelis together - their both popstars but seem to have a little more depth beyond that - in both their music and style. They're both touring together too.

  • Comment number 7.

    this song is amazing - also i like her a lot because she's original, not like everyone else trying to be lady gaga which is great because at least there's something different about her. [:

  • Comment number 8.


  • Comment number 9.

    One of the best songs around at the moment. Robyn´s always a bit hit and miss in my book, but this one she got right.

  • Comment number 10.

    When I first heard this I was blown away by how good it is. I didn't know who the artist was and was surprised it was Robyn as I despised her earlier stuff.
    If the album's as good as this, I'm getting it for sure

  • Comment number 11.

    just to say - Robyn was AWESOME last night - the energy of her shows is top notch!


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