By Allison Stewart
Swedish pop singer Robyn has been a star in waiting for so long that she started off as an antidote to Britney Spears and now, five years after her last release, has reemerged as an antidote to Lady Gaga, pop's other remote, fantastical electro- blonde.
Robyn, 31, is already on her third comeback. Her career can be measured in bytes - a leaked track here, a much- played remix there - which helps explain the fractured nature and shortened, eight-song length of "Body Talk Pt. 1": It's not meant to be an opus, just a collection of songs you've probably already heard and hopefully haven't downloaded yet, a blogosphere-only greatest hits.
Most of it is tremendous, like the slithery Röyksopp collaboration "None of Dem" and the fizzy "Dancing on My Own." Even the tracks that feel lazy, like "Fembot" (which features the sort of "vocoder equals forward- thinking artistry" meme that got Christina Aguilera crucified just a few weeks ago), are irresistible. That song's tag line ("I've got some news for you / Fembots have feelings, too") is meant to advance the narrative necessary for Robyn's career survival, that the icy singer is, contrary to all available evidence, an actual person with feelings, not an android made of binary codes and glitter.
The more Robyn thaws, the better she is. She can sometimes overdo it ("Body Talk" ends with a Swedish-language folk ballad, and it probably shouldn't have), but she gets it just right on the empathetic "Cry When You Get Older," a roller-disco anthem that sounds like something Journey would have made if its members were female. And Swedish. And fascinated with robot noises.
Robyn performs at the 9:30 club on Aug. 2.
Recommended tracks: "Dancing on My Own," "Cry When You Get Older"