In this irregular series we will be looking at some of those, ahem, “lost classics”, which we have recently found as a result of taking the cushions off the sofa. Ground rules are that the song in question must be over ten years old. We are not aiming to pick ‘cheesy’ songs from your youth and ours, but rather remind you of a time when pop music meant much, much more than Nicki Minaj and LMFAO. We also wish to remind you of some pop acts whom were actually pretty decent, but of whom you may have forgotten.
Robyn – Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)
Original release: 1995 (Sweden), 1998 (UK and US)
UK chart, #20
Today’s blast from the past concerns everyone’s favourite pop star named Robyn, Robyn ‘Robyn’ Carlsson, (back off, Fenty) and comes courtesy of your friend and ours Rajan. In a manner of speaking, anyway. He tweeted that Robyn’s career seems to revolve more or less around break-up songs. Mostly right Rajan, it’s certainly a prevalent theme in the singles she releases. But once upon a time, before she held so much creative control over her output, and as a fresh-faced popstar trying to make a name for herself, Robyn had quite a different approach to making music. Do You Really Want Me was released whilst Robyn was at the tender age of 16. That’s giving those Disney Kids a run for their money! Seeing how she has evolved from an identikit pop-cum-R&B artist, working with notorious producer Max Martin, to her current status of electropop pioneer and owner of a record label, is fascinating. Although it must be noted, even on this song at such an early stage of her career, Robyn holds co-writing credits. Therefore calling her identikit is below the belt. Regardless, one thing is for sure: popstars as creative as Robyn won’t be ‘held back’ by major labels forever.
This song was the last of her 90s hits in the UK and US, and the least successful, following Do You Know What It Takes and Show Me Love. Consequently, it wasn’t until 2007 that she would release more material in these international markets, and thus she re-emerged, after a long absence, as the Robyn we recognise and love today.
Musically, Do You Really Want Me sounds very of its time, which is not a criticism! It’s very easy to listen to, and doesn’t demand much from the listener. It’s very interesting to note how these early tunes don’t hint at the creative genius that was lying dormant in Robyn. Forced as she was to stick to a major label template, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine someone like Christina, or even a youthful Britney, singing this song. And that mostly tells you what you need to know about it. It’s odd that it wasn’t more of an international hit as it sounds produced especially to pander to such a market. The song is a bit too sassy for Robyn as we know her nowadays; she has never really been about girl power and clicking her finger making a list of demands for her man (she usually prefers to melodically and wistfully do that these days). Nonetheless, the song taken for what it is, and listened away from Robyn’s recent output, sounds more than decent, and thus earns its Popfools Blast From The Past status.