Teen idol turned pop auteur Robyn has released six albums in her celebrated career, and in the process became the leading light of the poptimist movement, influencing everyone from Britney Spears to Lorde to Charli XCX. This week, an obscure chapter of Robyn’s career gets a little more accessible thanks to the worldwide Spotify debut of her 2002 album Don’t Stop The Music.
Robyn first tasted success in the late ‘90s with bubblegum hits like “Do You Know (What It Takes)” and especially “Show Me Love,” that slathered American R&B with sugary, major-key Swedish icing. But Robyn, then just a teenager, was far from happy with the restrictions her fame brought her: a Guardian profile described how she was once pinned down by a label employee for being disobedient.
Her personal rebellion spread to her music: she refused to cut songs referencing abortion from her second album, My Truth, which led to plans for a stateside release, or any release at all outside of Sweden, to fall through. As the new millennium rolled around, Robyn cut ties with her old label, BGM Sweden, to sign with the now-defunct Jive Records.
It’s that last decision that may have been why her third album, Don’t Stop The Music, the only one she released under Jive, has been absent from streaming services and even iTunes. This album was never released outside of Sweden either, despite the fact that Jive was an American label, so curious fans had to go out of their way to experience the black sheep of Robyn’s catalog. Until this week, that is, when Robyn’s independent label Konichiwa Records digitally re-issued the missing album globally, casting fresh light on a lost early-noughties gem.
Don’t Stop The Music is a transitional record, wedged between her teenage fame and her re-emergence as a forward-thinking pop cyborg. Although it’s certainly uneven, some tracks hold their own with anything else in Robyn’s formidable discography. The itchy, paranoid “Psycho” takes the stalker subject of Destiny’s Child’s “Bug-A-Boo” but ups the creepy factor to eleven, while beep-bloop ballad “Blow My Mind” anticipates Robyn’s fembot antics later in the decade. And that’s not to mention the pure dance-floor pleasures of lead single of “Keep This Fire Burning” or the delicate production on the bitter “Should Have Known.” Don’t Stop The Music deserves its day in the sun.
Listen to Don’t Stop The Music on Spotify here, and check out our review of Robyn’s latest album Honey while you’re at it.