You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t blogged here in over a year. I fell off. I didn’t pay enough attention. I failed to maintain. It’s not that things stopped being great for me to love. Things are still great and I, as a general stance, still LOVE things that are great. I just didn’t love my work schedule over the last year or so. Now, has it recently changed to being better since I fell off? No. I’m still pretty craze-balls here there and everywhere between my day job, improv, stand-up, and my social/family commitments. But, the main difference is that I’m just gonna be more flagrant about when I do all this stuff. So, hopefully, by caring a little less about getting shit-canned, I’ll get more done! That’s how it works, right? I’m like the world’s worst super-hero. Trying to juggle all my (non) heroic duties. The Craptacular Spider-Man. With great workloads comes half-assed attitudes and sloppy output.
So, what am I short shrifting my work to talk about today? It’s Swedish Popstar, Robyn! Robyn Carlsson, to be exact. I like this because Carlsson is also Carl’s last name from THE SIMPSONS. Carl Carlsson.
Really, I first knew of her from back in the early 90s. Her “Show Me Love” surfaced in the singles charts for a big and it was an enjoyable if ultimately forgettable little tune. It also had the misfortune of landing in proximity to another song called “Show Me Love”. This one was by Robin S. (Another Robin, just to add further confusion), and when comparing the two, Robin S.’s was bigger, bolshier, and all around more memorable. I’ve just looked it up and the songs were 4 years apart. Not long enough for me to really differentiate considering that those were years that were high school and college for me and I was mostly concerned with silently fancying girls at my Catholic school. So, if it wasn’t Jill Sobule or Sophie B. Hawkins, I was less likely to retain that track information.
Anyway, several years had passed since Robyn’s “Show Me Love” was on our American radios. I kept busy, going to University–studying writing and performance in tandem with Stella Adler studios, working my summers at a meat factory, eventually graduating and then finding work as a bartender, doing comedy in the alternative club scene in NYC, meeting my future wife, moving to LA, moving to Baltimore, moving back to Brooklyn, moving over to the UK–first living and working in Scotland and subsequently shifting down to England, hitting the Manchester comedy circuit, getting married, honeymooning in Ecuador, riding horses around a volcanic crater a couple hours outside of Quito, hiking Hadrian’s Wall for charity and occasionally dining out and seeing films with friends. Those were wild times. Finally, 2007 arrived. I’d been so busy with my own life that I hadn’t even bothered to consider that all this time, the Swedish soprano chanteuse had been laying it wait. Coiled like a short, blonde-tufted, snake, about to strike with a song that would infect my ears, my head, my dancing shoes, and yes, my heart.
What’s that YouTube? You have a clip of the song that you want to show us? Well, that’s great, I’d love to listen to it again.
I hoped you liked that song. It’s a testament to the track that I still like it even though the supershitty neighbors we had upstairs from us for a while at our old apartment in the Castlefield (yes…a whole field of castles!) neighborhood in Manchester used to blast it at their terrible parties full of even shittier friends. These guys were real dirtbags. Just scum. I mean, they stole balcony furniture from other tenants and would let their cigarettes fall through their balcony slats down to ours. Gross. I want to give you some idea of what they were like so I’ve googled ‘hipster douchebag’ and this is the first image that appeared. Works for me.
Anyway, it’s that good that I still love it even over that negative association.
I like Robyn because she makes perfect pop music which still seems authentically artful. I like that she has both singing talent AND ideas about what she wants to create. In fact, she started Konichiwa Records in 2005 over creative disputes with her former record company. She wanted to go more electro and they were all like, ‘naaah’. So, she was like, ‘bye I guess’.
But it’s her collaboration with and video for “You Should Know Better” that is the real centerpiece of this blog entry. I love everything about it, from the gender-swapping kids to the choice pop partnership to the general badassery to the shout out for a woman pope. Here she is with Snoop Dogg (he was still Dogg at that point and not Lion, I believe).
I love that the kid pulls so many Robyn dance-moves from previous vids. It’s perfect casting for both of the reverse doppelgangers.
*Fun Fact* Robyn plays his Mom in that video.
Here’s a bonus bit of fun with The Lonely Island.
This pleases me because I think that the fact The Lonely Island reached out to her means that she’s cool enough in America again to be appreciated by these creators of cultural touchstones. Goodo.
OK, you know. I started this blog post in February…I mean, obviously, you won’t know that because it looks like it has practically no content except videos and that it would have taken approximately four seconds to write…but it’s now the middle of March now and I STILL haven’t posted it.
Yet, today there is NEW Robyn news. Check out this brilliant song from my favorite Buffalo-stancin’ British rapper, Neneh Cherry featuring none other than Robyn. I like it very much and since I’m so desparate to share it with you, I’m finally gonna hit publish on this post. Thanks for pushing me off the plank, Neneh Cherry.
P.S. For more amazing Swedish recommendations see the film SHOW ME LOVE, The Cardigans, Abba, Ikea, and The Swedish Parliament (which has the highest ratio of female lawmakers in the world!!!)