[36] Robyn with Kleerup, ‘With Every Heartbeat’

With Every Heartbeat

Christ almighty, this is taking eons. I didn’t really mean to cover the decade in real-time; it’s something to do with taking on too many commitments – you know, work, children…

Anyway, with no space for false promises to speed up the countdown, we move on to Robyn and her chart-topping slice of electro-pop-heartbreak. This has its roots in early 90s house and its cardiac beats with impassioned vocals, when dance synths had some body before trance piped them through a shrill-woofer. Robyn’s performance is effervescent, and ever-so-real, while Kleerup lays off his customary cheese for a few symphonic minutes to allow her the perfect, dignified setting. She has a knack of making the banal sound crucial – take her ‘Dream On’ collaboration with Christian Falk, which would seem trite in another voice – but here subject matter and delivery collide.

Junior says: “And-ah-it-ah-hurts-ah-with-ah-every-ah-heart-ah-beat.” Even Robyn can be mimicked. Junior loves the song, asks for it to be repeated, then asks again the next day. The clarity of Robyn’s vocal is what gives it its appeal, at least for her.

Best bit:
The flutter of dying synths before that breathy chorus.

[3] Robyn with Kleerup, ‘With Every Heartbeat’

Robyn with Kleerup, ‘With Every Heartbeat’

The Swedish popstress graced the charts before, back in the ‘90s, with ‘Show Me Love’. No, not that one. It did nothing to prepare us for this swooning beauty. What did prepare us was the fact that ‘With Every Heartbeat’ had been hanging around for a good year or two, but let’s gloss over that. It hit No.1 this year, so that’ll sway the arbitrary rules.
Sad techno is an occasionally populated genre, yet rarely is it rendered as gorgeously as this. Kleerup provides the synth washes and electric strings, while Robyn drops her standard tough-girl shtick to bare all – emotionally, dirty fans. The building melody is off-the-peg, but delivered with a lump in the throat and when Robyn punctuates every word of the chorus with a caught breath it would be a hard soul to resist. ‘With Every Heartbeat’ is a stunning marker, a genuine sign of a woman who can make the pop world her own. Good old Scandinavia – first Annie, now Robyn… well, first ABBA, then A-ha… then The Cardigans… um, there’s a point here.
Well, Junior was delighted to have it on the turntable, and graced the baby doll with a waltz. She likes the shinier side of pop – a weakness of mine too – perhaps she’s been brainwashed. Anyway, that’s two heart-rending tunes in a row. Time for unfettered joy!