May 02, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT


Current Status
In Season
We gave it an A

If there were any justice, the divas who’ve been trading off the No. 1 slot — Mariah, Madonna, and newcomer Leona Lewis — would also be slugging it out with a platinum-blond dark horse from Scandinavia. Enter Sweden’s Robyn, who arrives Stateside with Robyn, an album that’s a veritable parade of Songs of the Summer.

After landing a few mediocre teen-pop hits in the ’90s (namely ”Show Me Love”), she’s forsaken her white-soul dullness for hooky dance-pop greatness with help from electro-favoring fellow Swedes like the Teddybears and the Knife. From the girly hip-hop of ”Konichiwa Bitches” to the Eurodisco defiance of ”With Every Heartbeat,” she’s developed a real backbone to go with that asymmetrical ‘do. Not since Pink’s M!ssundaztood has an easily dismissed young thrush made so unexpected a leap to career artist.

That comparison starts with Robyn’s first single, ”Handle Me” — a less nasty but even hookier version of Pink’s lounge-lizard-repelling ”U + Ur Hand.” But she hardly sticks to playing a tough cookie: The next song, ”Bum Like You,” offers an amusing, knowing lesson in How to Fall for a Jerk 101. Meanwhile, in the pensive, timbales-‘n’-synths-driven ”Who’s That Girl,” Robyn decries her guy’s impossible standards. ”Good girls are pretty, like, all the time,” she sings. ”I’m just pretty some of the time.” Her album, however? Fantastic all of the time. A
DOWNLOAD THIS: See the video for ”Handle Me” at

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