I don’t know if any of you experience this, but I occasionally have a revelation about an artist I’ve loved for a long time that makes my love for them perfectly clear and articulate. With Robyn, I think that just happened with her new song, “Dancing On My Own”:Update: Video’s dead, but you can listen to it here.
She’s mastered the art of expressing loneliness while vehemently rejecting the corollary that means she ought to be pathetic, too. What she’s describing here: “I’m in the corner / Watching you kiss her / I’m right over here / Why can’t you see me? / I’m giving my all / But I’m not the guy you’re taking home” are pretty awful things to feel. But while she’s specific about that awfulness, she’s still dancing. It’s a quieter form of dance-as-lifeline, as is “Dancehall Queen,” than Madonna’s “Vogue.” But it’s basically the same message: like sharks, if we keep moving, we live.