It’s been five years since Swedish pop sprite Robyn unleashed her last full album. That record, Body Talk, and its signature song, the weepy disco anthem “Dancing on My Own,” was a triumph of Scandinavian bubblegum that thrilled dancing tweens, twitchy hipsters, and Lena Dunham in equal measure. Since then, she has teased us with two EPs: last year’s Do It Again, a collaboration with Norwegian electro weirdos Röyksopp; and this tag team with keyboardist Markus Jägerstedt and producer Christian Falk.
While nothing on Love Is Free captures the glacier-melting glow of “Call Your Girlfriend,” “Hang With Me,” and other now-classic Robyn gems, it’s still a thrilling ride. The bulk of the five-track EP aims directly for the neon lights of the discotheque; while the Röyksopp stuff from last year could be mistaken for head music, Love Is Free speaks primarily to the groin. “Lose Control” opens with perhaps the clubbiest beat Robyn has ever cooed over, and she handles the seismic thump with appropriate guts and gusto. Tracks like the house-music rave-up “Love Is Free” and frothy “Set Me Free,” replete with videogame squiggles and skronking digital brass, happily celebrate bubbling hedonism.
Love offers a satisfying sprint for hungry fans and acts as a sort of adrenalized tribute to Falk, who passed away during production last year. But it’s also the sound of Robyn withholding the tears-on-the-dance-floor melancholy that has made her so adored. Throwing your hands in the air can be cathartic, but nothing beats a good cry. B