My superbrain is all binary: nostalgic futurism as Robyn's feminist super-persona

Hooper, E (2014) My superbrain is all binary: nostalgic futurism as Robyn's feminist super-persona. In: IASPM UK & Ireland Conference, 11-14 September 2014, Cork, Ireland.

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Sweden’s electropop-sweetheart Robyn, (born Robin Miriam Carlsson), was first thrust into international pop music’s glare in the 1997, when her Max Martin-crafted album Robyn is Here (BMG) was released in the USA. By 1998, the album had gone platinum and Robyn seemed set for a sparkling career of teen-pop stardom. However, instead, she was struck down by what was diagnosed as exhaustion, and quietly returned to Sweden: “a teen pop star who stepped off the conveyor belt.” (Petridis, 2010) Fast-forward to 2010, and Robyn has dropped the label and stepped back out into the international music spotlight with two self-written and released albums (on her own label, Konichiwa Records). The music is a more glitchy and unnerving breed of pop, with titles like, “Fembot” (2010), “Bionic Woman” (2005) and “Robot Boy” (2005); lyrics like, “Hey little droid, let your x-ray shine” (2005) and “My superbrain is all binary” (2010); and stage wear featuring moon-boots, futuristic angles, and extreme colours, often more off-putting and alien than sexy. What’s clear in this reawakening is that this Robyn is not the old Robyn. In the words of The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones, “She has been the stand-in for older men's vision of a woman in pop, and no longer needs to play that role or bemoan its conditions” (2010). Instead, in a Ziggy Stardustesque burst of rockets and robots, Robyn’s rebirth was and is marked by an empowering retro-futurist positioning, that, while part of a definite lineage of spacey metaphor in pop, she make and directs as very much her own, and that, I propose, can be interpreted as a refreshing new breed of celebrity feminism. Cited: Frere-Jones, S. “Dancehall Dream.” The New Yorker, Vol. 86, Issue 19, July 5th, 2010. Petridis, A. “Unchained Melodies.” The Guardian: G2: Arts. June 17th, 2010.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Similar paper presented at the Bath Spa University Music Research Forum, 10 April 2014.

Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 15:48
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:39
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