Call Your Girlfriend
|"Call Your Girlfriend"|
|Single by Robyn|
|from the album Body Talk|
|Released||1 April 2011|
|Format||CD single, Digital download|
|Writer(s)||Robyn, Alexander Kronlund, Klas Åhlund|
|Producer(s)||Klas Åhlund, Billboard|
|Robyn singles chronology|
"Call Your Girlfriend" is a song by Swedish recording artist Robyn, taken from her seventh studio album, Body Talk (2010). It was released as the album's second single on 1 April 2011. The song was written by Robyn, Klas Åhlund and Alexander Kronlund. Åhlund handled production, with assistance by Billboard. In the song, Robyn portrays a woman who begs her new partner to break up with an old girlfriend, and advises on how to do it gently. "Call Your Girlfriend" is a electropop ballad with synths and a buzzing rhythm.
The song received positive reviews from critics, who praised it for its lyrics and heartfelt message. The song reached number forty-three on the Sverigetopplistan chart, number eight on the Flanders Ultratip chart and number one in the Pmachinery Top 30. In the United States, it reached number one on Hot Dance Club Songs, becoming Robyn's highest-peaking song on the chart. The accompanying music video was released on 2 June 2011 and features Robyn dancing alone in a warehouse. The song has been performed on the NewNowNext Awards, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and on Saturday Night Live. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 2012 Grammy Awards.
Background and composition
"Call Your Girlfriend" is an electropop ballad, described as "soaringly tuneful".
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In an interview with Teen.com, Robyn said that love and life inspired her to write the song. In January 2011, Robyn confirmed that it would be released as the second single from Body Talk, and that a music video for the song was in the works. Originally intended for a 16 May 2011 release, the single was released digitally on 1 April 2011, in Finland, and three days later in Sweden.
"Call Your Girlfriend" was written by Robyn, Alexander Kronlund and Klas Åhlund, with the latter producing the song. Billboard is credited as the co-producer. The song is a electropop ballad, described as "soaringly tuneful." In the song, Robyn portrays a woman who is enjoying her new partner, but is concerned how this person's current girlfriend will be hurt by it. As a solution, she begs her partner to break up with the girlfriend and gives tips on how to do it gently. According to Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork, the song carries a "buzzing rhythm", synths and "a killer chord change." Plagenhoef wrote that Robyn "[is] as graceful about this role as when she plays the other points in the love triangle." He described it as "one of the most adult, thoughtful pop music breakups since the Field Mice's "Willow", but naturally without the twee-pop OGs' sense of melancholy."
Ben Norman of About.com called the song "pensive pop" and said that it "demands [that] you sing along from the very beginning." He noted that the lyrics focuses on "the little bit of bad one must do to embrace the good". Marc Hogan of Pitchfork called it "one of Body Talk's most inspired moments". Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club wrote that Body Talk "reaches its apex at its midpoint with “Call Your Girlfriend,” which turns the breakup-anthem conceit on its ear in a manner that makes getting dumped seem inspiring." Heather Phares of Allmusic called it a "thoughtful twist on a love triangle that finds Robyn enjoying new love while being concerned for someone hurt by it." Evan Sawdey of PopMatters called it "remarkable" and "one of those rare Robyn tracks that finds a way to use its overtly commercial pop framework to tell a rather emotional, pointed relationship tale that is heads-and-shoulders above most of what’s on mainstream radio today."
"Call Your Girlfriend" debuted at number forty-three on the Sverigetopplistan chart in Sweden, on the issue dated 22 April 2011. On the issue dated July 2, 2011, the track peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, thus became her first single to reach the top spot of Hot Dance Club Play Chart, and also her highest peaking and most successful single there. On the issue on 18 July 2011, the song debuted at number thirty-nine in New Zealand, Robyn's fourth single in that country. It is currently peaking at number seventeen on the issue date 15 August 2011, becoming Robyn's highest single in the country since "Show Me Love".
The music video for "Call Your Girlfriend" was directed by Max Vitali. It premiered on 2 June 2011, and features Robyn dancing alone in a soundstage. The video was choreographed by Maria "Decida" Wahlberg. Robyn confirmed a video for the song alongside the single announcement in January 2011. Tom Breihan of Pitchfork wrote that the video "is one long unbroken tracking shot of the Swedish pop queen dancing, singing, and looking like her heart is about to break. The only thing she has to keep her company is an elaborate lighting rig. It's a true command performance, a hall-of-fame effort from an artist at the absolute peak of her powers." Tamar Anitai of MTV Buzzworthy said that "[the clip] appears to be shot, incredibly, all in one take". The writer said that has a "stripped-down approach". Anitai also wrote, "In a stark, gorgeously lit gymnasium, Robyn approaches the gym-floor-turned-dance-floor with the focus of a seasoned gymnast approaching the mat before an Olympic floor routine." Jon Blistein of Billboard magazine also gave a positive review naming Robyn a "true pop star" and referring to the video as "so simple, yet nearly impossible to look away."
Robyn performed "Call Your Girlfriend" on the 2011 NewNowNext Awards. On 13 April 2011, she performed the song alongside "Dancing on My Own" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, wearing a pastel blue top and matching lipstick. Robyn performed "Call Your Girlfriend" as well as fellow Body Talk single "Dancing On My Own" on the December 10th, 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live.
French Canadian singer Marie-Mai released a French version of the song titled “Sans Cri Ni haine” (No shouts nor hate) as a promotional single for her fourth studio album Miroir. The song peaked at number one in Quebec for 7 weeks and was released in France as well. On October 2012, the song was awarded with the Felix Award, Quebec's most important awards for the Popular song of the year. Singer-songwriter Star Anna has performed the song live with a different melody, most notably on KEXP. A 2011 viral video features Saturday Night Live actor Taran Killam dancing to the song with the almost exact repetition of the same dance moves as Robyn. In January 2012, the Swedish group Erato covered the song in an a cappella version using hand claps and empty butter tubs as rhythmic accompaniment in a viral YouTube video. The video, itself, was later covered by young sisters Lennon and Maisy Stella. Suede guitarist Richard Oakes covered the song with his project Artmagic as the b-side to their single "Down In The River" in October 2012. In November 2012, Newspaper Editor and Blogger, Harrison Mooney, created a parody, titled "Call the Union," in response to the 2012 NHL Lockout. Minneapolis Band The New Standards released a cover version titled "Call Your Boyfriend" on their 2012 album Sunday Morning Coming Down and frequently performs the song live. In May 2013, Michelle Chamuel performed the song on the fourth season of The Voice during the top 12 week. Singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche (daughter of Loudon Wainwright III) released an acoustic version. British singer, Cher Lloyd, performed an acoustic cover of the song in February 2013.
Credits and personnel
- Robyn – music and lyrics
- Alexander Kronlund – music
- Klas Åhlund – music, lyrics, production, instruments and programming
- Billboard – co-production, instruments and programming
- Niklas Flyckt – mixing
|Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)||8|
|Denmark Airplay (Tracklisten)||18|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||17|
|UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)||55|
|US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)||1|
|US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)||31|
|Finland||1 April 2011||Digital download||Konichiwa Records|
|Norway||4 April 2011|
|United States||10 May 2011||Digital remix EP||Interscope Records|
|United Kingdom||17 June 2011||Digital EP||Island Records|
|Germany||15 July 2011||CD single||Warner Music International|
|Australia||28 September 2012||Digital remixes||Konichiwa Records|
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