Fly Robyn Fly

We've Been "Missing U," Girlfriend

BY: Andy Shoulders

Everyone brace yourselves.

Robyn. Is. Back.

We’ve recently been given a taste of her first single from her first solo album in EIGHT YEARS. Not that she’s been completely gone for almost a decade, per se. She’s actually been quite busy. Aside from touring, she put out two collaborative mini-albums: 2014’s Do It Again and 2015’s Love Is Free.

Now, we get Robyn back in her creative glory, doing what she does best: sending her listeners to the dance floor while wailing about truly heartbreaking stuff. So is the case on her latest single “Missing You.” While the song was being rolled out across social media, Robyn said that the song was a sort of acknowledgment of her absence, as well as partially being about her relationship with her fans.

This special relationship has never been more evident than in this new short film, which she declares is a “message to my fans, that I’ve missed them.” The video, directed by Danilo Parra, begins with what seems like a Soul Cycle commercial, but we quickly learn that a student of this particular class, Russ Marshalek, started the Robyn Parties in Brooklyn about eight years ago. What began as a party born out of love for Robyn quickly morphed into sold-out ticketed events in Williamsburg with lines to get in stretching down the block.

For this particular party, countless fans sent voicemails to Robyn declaring their love and pleading with her to come to the next Robyn Party. We see Robyn wrestling with the idea, and then eventually deciding to attend the party, facing her fans for the first time in years. She says, “I haven’t made an album in eight years, so I haven’t seen my fans for a long time either. I felt like I really had to do some exploration and figure out what I wanted to write about again. I learned new things by myself.”

We can hear her song “Missing You” throughout this short film, and to no surprise, it’s pure heaven. At first listen, the song and its synthy loop is reminiscent of “Hang With Me,” a hit from her 2010 three-album miracle known as Body Talk (if you aren’t familiar with Body Talk please go to a quiet room and play the entire thing at full blast.). “Missing You” is essentially Robyn being the Robyn we know and love: a lovesick techno balladeer who seamlessly pens genius lyrics about heartbreak. However, do NOT expect a “Body Talk 2.0” with this latest effort.

Although on “Missing You” Robyn dances with ghosts of relationships past, reminding us of past hits like “Be Mine” and the global hit “Dancing On My Own,” this time she plays with different structure. Rather than that final booming chorus after the final bridge, “Missing You” flips that traditional formula on its head. Clearly, her work in recent years has had an effect on her new music. For one, the song clocks in at nearly five minutes. Instead of getting that final send-off, the song sort of floats and languishes. It might seem a little off-putting, but it’s interesting to note how a song about empty spaces and a lack of closure has, well, a lack of closure. The absence of a grand climax (the chorus itself seems to approach a welcome release before giving us a simply-sighed “cause I’m missing you…”) drives home the point that the tension in this song is far from an accident.

This isn’t a deterrent by any means. Rather, it’s simply a true artist giving us something new and telling us to adjust our expectations for the future. Robyn is clearly too busy trying to figure out what’s next to worry about giving us another “Body Talk,” which should be left to stand on its own anyway.

Welcome back, Robyn. We’ve certainly been missing you.