Thursday, October 20
Judging by her lyrics alone, Robyn might be the cockiest pop star around right now. "I'm a scientifically hot>"/>
Judging by her lyrics alone, Robyn might be the cockiest pop star around right now. "I'm a scientifically hot mama," she sings on "Fembot." "None of these boys can dance/Not a single one of dem stand a chance . . . None of dem do it like I do," she brags on "None of Dem." "The whole industry knows not to fuck with me," she declares on "U Should Know Better." If Lady Gaga or Katy Perry started spouting those kinds of statements, a bit of eye-rolling might be required. But for Robyn, they come off less as braggadocio and more as a mere statement of fact--she's been working hard at this life for almost two decades, and she's at a point in her career where no one else is doing it like she is. Why is she playing to sold-out audiences, releasing brilliant, critically acclaimed music, and looking so fantastic and happy while she does it all? Because she worked fucking hard for it.
Last night at the Paramount, she took the stage sporting a bowl cut and a starry yellow croptop; her band consists of two drummers who really nailed down the heavy beats on songs like the four-on-the-floor of "Indestructible," plus two keyboardists who also occasionally sang into vocoders. Robyn kept to center stage for most of the show; "I got them hypnotized," she sang to the reggae groove of "Dancehall Queen"--appropriately, two giant pinwheels spun in the back of the stage throughout the show.
Robyn has an unbelievable amount of energy--she spent much of her time onstage spinning in circles with her arms outstretched and head tilted back, like a futuristic, fly Maria von Trapp--but last night's show was much more of a measured production than the last time she came through Seattle, at Neumos almost a year ago. That show was all about spontaneity, intimacy, and nonstop bursts of wild dance moves. Last night, Robyn came off as a much more polished and restrained performer, but part of that may just have been an effect of the larger venue--I remember feeling emotional at the Neumos show when she sang "Indestructible," like she was singing the song right at me. It's hard to feel that sense of intimacy when you're among a sea of faces who all know all the words of "Dancing on My Own."
That being said, Robyn deserves that bigger sea of fans--and her quality as a performer is such that she could infuse warmth into a KeyArena or a Tacoma Dome. She gives the crowd her heart. There isn't another pop star out there today who's matching such perfect dance beats to such feminine confidence and emotion. Despite all her talk and swagger, she gives her audience a sense of affinity--she just connects. On "In My Eyes," she sings, "Don't you know when nothing ever seems to make sense?/You put your dancing shoes on and do it again." In other words, when life and work and love are sad and hard, it's possible to dance the joy back into them.
We Dance to the Beat/Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do
Dancing On My Own
Call Your Girlfriend
In My Eyes
Hang With Me
With Every Heartbeat
None Of Dem
The Girl and the Robot
U Should Know Better
Dancing Queen/Show Me Love