Don't Stop the Music

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After spreading her artistic wings with mixed success on 1999's My Truth, Robyn returns to more commercial fare on Don't Stop the Music. Once again she co-writes every song on the record, excluding a hidden rendition of Swedish standard "Regntunga Skyar," but the album is generally less introspective and more upbeat than her previous effort. Some fans may bemoan this as a backwards step, but truth be told Don't Stop the Music is a much stronger record for it. Robyn has a great ear for a pop hook, and this album is filled with them. In many ways it represents a culmination of the best elements of her first two albums, Robyn Is Here and My Truth. It has the strong melodies and instant pop appeal of the best songs on her debut, combined with the lyrical intelligence and consistency of her second full-length. There's a definite R&B flavor in places, particularly on the driving beats of the lead single "Keep This Fire Burning." Other tracks, such as the sugary ballad "O Baby" and the title track are closer to the pop sound she was initially famous for. The bitter "Should Have Known" is also notable for its liberal use of the word f*ck, although its use heightens the emotional punch of the song rather than sounding crass. Although once again she failed to recapture much of her audience outside Scandinavia, several songs here were appropriated by other artists. Girl group Play covered the title track on their third album, while U.K. soul diva Beverley Knight hit the U.K. Top Twenty with a cover of "Keep This Fire Burning." Robyn's own versions are generally superior, though. Robyn is the rare pop singer whose material seems to get stronger with each release.

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