On August 1, pop-extra­or­di­naire Robyn released “Miss­ing U,” her first prop­er sin­gle in eight years. Fans of the Swedish singer have long await­ed a new album since 2010’s crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed Body Talk, but cer­tain­ly were not left with­out mate­r­i­al deserv­ing of years of repeat-lis­ten­ing.

Dubbed the “Body Talk series,” Robyn ini­tial­ly announced plans in ear­ly 2010 to release three mini-albums over the course of the year, but after releas­ing Body Talk Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, plans were altered and Body Talk — a com­pi­la­tion of the best songs from Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, plus five new songs — was released on Novem­ber 22, 2010. Described by Robyn as the “tur­bo ver­sion” of the album, fans were gift­ed an ever-evolv­ing col­lec­tion of songs that was even­tu­al­ly edit­ed into a sin­gle pop mas­ter­piece. Despite nev­er reach­ing great com­mer­cial suc­cess, Body Talk today con­tin­ues to gar­ner a cult-like fol­low­ing and new fans. In 2014, Pitch­fork named it the 36th Best Album of the Decade thus far.

 

Most aston­ish­ing­ly, the album is built upon a foun­da­tion of intense hon­esty. Specif­i­cal­ly, an hon­esty that’s only pos­si­ble when paired with pol­ished pop hooks and hid­den amongst heavy synth. Robyn nev­er miss­es a shot. The album is cal­cu­lat­ed, direct and always on tar­get, regard­less if she’s rem­i­nisc­ing on unre­quit­ed love, instruct­ing a new lover on how to let his ex-girl­friend down gen­tly, or giv­ing the mid­dle fin­ger to every­one who keeps telling her what to do!

 

Danc­ing On My Own,” the album’s debut sin­gle, remains a fan favorite and clear stand­out. On the track, Robyn explores the idea of danc­ing with tears in your eyes to a new lev­el in the dance­floor tragedy of watch­ing an ex-lover move on to a new woman. Don’t let the song’s catch­i­ness mis­take you. Upon hear­ing the first note, almost any­one would want to run for the dance­floor, but the track’s true genius lies in its lyrics, demand­ing stuck-on-repeat lis­ten­ing as you fall deep into her sto­ry­telling. It’s wor­thy of the all the acclaim it’s received, and more.

 

As Robyn bounces between the larg­er-than-life elec­to-queen on “Don’t Fuck­ing Tell Me What To Do” and “Fem­bot” to the vul­ner­a­ble, sen­ti­men­tal-syn­the­siz­er on “Stars 4 Ever” and “Inde­struc­tible,” she encap­su­lates emo­tion­al expe­ri­ences in a way that is usu­al­ly absent from the charts’ biggest hits. Her songs are bot­tled feel­ings.

 

Today, and in 2010, the genre of pop is often treat­ed as syn­ony­mous with sin­gles dom­i­nat­ing Top 40 sta­tions – some­times for good rea­son. The radio-ready songs are writ­ten and pro­duced like prod­ucts of a pop music fac­to­ry. They’re strate­gi­cal­ly designed to get stuck in your head, to grab atten­tion and ulti­mate­ly, to make mon­ey. It’s com­mer­cial; it’s a busi­ness, but this false equiv­a­lence can lead many a music lover to dis­cred­it the entire genre as just an ear­worm, divorced from artistry. Body Talk puts all these argu­ments to rest.

Hang With Me” details the exact moment ear­ly in a rela­tion­ship when you real­ize you can trust your part­ner and let down your walls. Upon first lis­ten, the lyrics seem obvi­ous and sim­ple, but even­tu­al­ly you real­ize that’s where the bril­liance lies. Robyn’s abil­i­ty to tap into those uni­ver­sal moments and expe­ri­ences that most of us can only rec­og­nize, not artic­u­late. Not only does she accom­plish this, here – she makes it catchy.

 

The entire album can be enjoyed at sur­face lev­el with­out great inter­pre­ta­tion or intro­spec­tion. Robyn match­es her abil­i­ty to cap­ture euphor­ic emo­tion with infec­tious beats, wit­ty lyrics and over-the-top pro­duc­tion. It can trans­port you back to your very first crush or your very first heart­break. It can height­en your con­fi­dence to make you feel invin­ci­ble­or it can break you down to your most inse­cure form. It’s pop per­fec­tion.

 

As Robyn read­ies her eighth stu­dio album, she returns to a dif­fer­ent, dark­er world. “Miss­ing U” dou­bles as a mes­sage for both the fans that have wait­ed eight years for this moment and for the lover that left. One can’t help but imag­ine how this song might be played dif­fer­ent­ly in a less solemn present, but either way, Robyn arrives just in the knick of time, offer­ing the escapism of grand pro­duc­tion, unfor­get­table lyrics and a per­fect world where even our great­est prob­lems can be solved out on the dance­floor. Like Body Talk, it’s not going to actu­al­ly save the world, but it pro­vides lis­ten­ers a per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to escape the heat, dance it out and – at its best – see them­selves in a remark­ably hon­est way.