The Rakamonie EP
obyn is the rare artist that doesn’t seem home in any genre. Sure, when she first arrived in America with “Show Me Love,” it was easy to pin her down as just another cog in the lite-white-Swedish-funk machine, but with last year’s self-titled disc she found herself snugly fitting against chamber-electro, old-school hip-hop, and ghettotech.
She’s become the Swedish Missy Elliot—she’s not quite at home unless what’s behind her doesn’t make a lick of sense without her over top providing order. The Rakamonie EP goes some ways towards proving that much. Over the course of four covers (including one of herself) and a previously released track (“Konichiwa Bitches”), Robyn voice remains constantly in motion, inhabiting a role expertly for a few minutes before hastily moving onto the next.
Robyn’s covers highlight the just-as-incestuous-as-Canada Swedish music scene. First, she presciently takes on Teddybears’ “Cobrastyle,” (Kleerup, a member of that group, features Robyn on Stylus fave “With Every Heartbeat”), while Jenny Wilson (who records on the Knife’s label) pops up for the duet “List of Demands.” Factor in a piano-playing Björn (of PBJ fame) on “Jack U Off” and you’ve got nearly every single Swedish group worth talking about covered.
The songs themselves? Stellar. Robyn’s attempted patois relaxes “Cobrastyle,” Wilson’s simple piano and Robyn’s Casio beat thankfully both shortens and softens Saul Williams’ original, and the cloudy production and jaunty piano of “Jack U Off” reminds this writer of nothing less than Green Day’s snotty hidden track on Dookie.
The main draw here will be the ballad version of “Be Mine.” Like Marit Bergman’s recent reworking of Justin Timberlake’s “My Love,” it’s a case of a great song being rendered great (again). Robyn’s vocal is exceptional—betraying neither spectacular pipes nor devastating emotion, she sucks it up like the protagonist of her song, unwilling to give her ex the pleasure of knowing just how much it hurts.
Reviewed by: Charles Merwin
Reviewed on: 2006-12-13