Often imitated, never bettered; Swedish pop star Robyn remains the queen of Scandi-music cool and tears-on-the-dancefloor hits.
It might be seven years since the release of her last album – 2010’s critically-acclaimed Body Talk series – but the Stockholm-born star’s recent chart absence has only served to make the heart grow fonder.
Signed back in 1994 at the tender age of 16, Robyn’s transformation from pre-Britney teeny bopper to icy hipster-pop diva has been unlike any other, but she’s got the hits to back up the hype.
In honour of her 38th birthday today (June 12), here are ten of here best in order of greatness…
10) Keep This Fire Burning (2002)
Wait, wasn’t this a Beverley Knight song? WRONG. Bev’s 2005 UK Top 20 hit was in fact a cover of the lead single from Robyn’s third studio album, which although being her highest-charting hit in seven years in Sweden, never received a UK release. Proof that our girl was trend-setting even before the cutting-edge reinvention that followed.
9) Dream On (Christian Falk ft. Robyn) (2009)
Long before the era of “purposeful pop” came this gem of an anthem for every outsider whose ever felt like they don’t belong, with a powerful video to boot. A minor UK chart hit (it reached #29), the song has taken on an added poignancy since the death of Christian Falk – a long-time friend and collaborator of Robyn’s – from pancreatic cancer in 2014.
8) Show Me Love (1997)
Not to be confused with Robin S.’s 1993 hit of the same name, this slice of ’90s cookie-cutter pop was the track that propelled a then-teenage Robyn to worldwide stardom.
7) Call Your Girlfriend (2011)
Forget ‘Single Ladies’, forget ‘Vogue’ – THIS is the most iconic dance routine of the last 50 years.
6) Handle Me (2007)
Because branding a man “a selfish narcissistic psycho freaking bootlicking Nazi creep” while showing off your new range of brightly coloured boxes is the reason pop music was invented.
5) Do It Again (with Röyksopp) (2014)
Robyn’s collaborations with Norwegian electronic music duo Röyksopp have led to some of her greatest musical output, and this thumping ode to hedonism remains the best thing we’ve heard from her since 2010’s Body Talk album.
4) ‘Be Mine! (2008)
Originally released in Sweden in 2005, ‘Be Mine!’ set the template for the heartbreak-pop that would go on to define Robyn’s career. That spoken-word middle 8 remains the most devastating 25 musical seconds of the last 10 years.
3) ‘The Girl and the Robot’ (Röyksopp featuring Robyn) (2009)
Another collaboration with Röyksopp, this epic aural masterpiece about a partner more dedicated to their job than their relationship was slept on by pretty much the entire world. Proof, if any were needed given recent developments both sides of the Atlantic, that humanity is doomed.
2) ‘With Every Heartbeat’ (with Kleerup) (2007)
Robyn’s first and as yet only (for shame!) UK Number One remains one of her best. Simultaneously defiant and heartbreaking, it remains as fresh in 2017 as it did a decade ago.
1) Dancing on My Own (2010)
Was it ever going to be anything else? Seven years on, this genius song about the universal experience of dancing alone while that guy you like makes out with someone else remains the definition of heartbreak disco. Poignant, lonely, euphoric, it remains Robyn’s defining hit (and Calum Scott’s, but the less said about that the better).
Many happy returns, Robyn. Now get back to work on that new album, yeah?