Single Review: Robyn returns with the gorgeous ‘Missing U’

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - 5:54pm

Robyn

Konichiwa Records

Oh Robyn, how we have missed you.

After eight years of silence, the most innovative pop musician of the last two decades has returned and she’s not holding back. Equal parts sad, graceful, gorgeous, danceable and exhilarating, Robyn’s “Missing U” is the kind of pop song that reminds us just how intently music needs her. Over her career, Robyn has perfected the art of crying in the club, with cult hits like “Dancing on My Own” and “Call Your Girlfriend” that swirl with a giddy rush of regret, joy and intractable loneliness. “Missing U” is no exception, and proves Robyn has taken these interim years to deepen her relationship with the longing and catharsis forming the backbone of her music.

The trademark soaring synths that everyone in the pop world from Jack Antonoff to the Chainsmokers to Zedd has spent years trying to replicate, ebb and flow between each quietly sad yet propulsive verse. But when that chorus hits — all glitter and drums and a bassline that pulses straight to the bone marrow — you’re taken to a different place.

“There’s this empty space you left behind,” she sings, and the heartbreak and grief in her voice are palpable. But in that moment, it’s okay, because you know that everybody else listening is feeling it too. In her hands, the mess of loneliness becomes something we can all understand and connect to. And in that sense, Robyn hasn’t just given us a song. She’s given us a gift.