This past weekend Jessica and I visited our friends at Pitchfork.com and a sizable cadre of its critics — past, present, and, presumably, future — in Union Park, taking in a lineup that seemed to perfectly capture everything that’s on all of our iTunes “Recently Added” smart playlists, and tended to lull us into a daytime doze anyway. In the case of Beach House, the nocturnal emissions suffered none in the sun, their swooning set of Teen Dreams quickly reminding the park that said LP should be a lot higher on people’s year-end lists. (Everyone in that park makes a year-end list, trust.) But otherwise, the fest’s cross-section of the sort of indie we’re all celebrating these days blended with the humidity for a soporific cocktail. Unless your name was Lightning Bolt, or Local Natives, or Major Lazer, or a handful of others. That goes triple for Robyn. Her set ruled. Scott and I had seen her once before, but she was somehow ruling even harder now. There was a lot of Body Talk Pt. 1 (one reason for the excess ruling), and rearranged Robyns (I prefer the originally arranged Robyns, but so it goes). During the set, “Dancing On My Own” led directly into its prior-album analogue, “With Every Heartbeat,” and it was highly unfair to anyone making pop music not named Robyn.
Pitchfork streamed much of the festival; I’m not sure they did her set. If not, it would be your loss, except that she was on Letterman last night and YouTube loves you. Yes, there are some backing track harmonies. There’s also Robyn being a rare and transcendent sort of pop star, one you can love without a trace of irony because she’s lyrically smart, stylistically experimental, and committed to making streamlined and heartfelt electropop with fat hooks resilient to the homogenizing vapidity and formulaic gloss infecting all that dominates the radio, whatever that is.
So, here she is doing one of the songs of the year, “Dancing On My Own,” for Letterman. While you watch, add dancing to the list of things Robyn can do better than you. I think she wants Dave to know more about Sweden than he does.