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Fembot (song)

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"Fembot"
Robyn Fembot.jpg
Promotional single by Robyn
from the album Body Talk Pt. 1
Released 13 April 2010 (2010-04-13)
Format Digital download
Length 3:35
Label Konichiwa
Songwriter(s) Robyn, Klas Åhlund
Producer(s) Klas Åhlund
Body Talk Pt. 1 track listing
"Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do"
(1)
"Fembot"
(2)
"Dancing on My Own"
(3)

"Fembot" is a song by Swedish recording artist Robyn, taken from her fifth studio album, Body Talk Pt. 1 (2010). The song was written by Robyn and Klas Åhlund, and produced by the latter. It was inspired by Robyn's personal experience of entering her thirties and contemplating children. With the song, she also argues against the notion that humans and robots are separate, explaining that technology has become more organic. "Fembot" is a song with an R&B vibe, and features Robyn rapping several double entendres in the verses, while proclaiming that "Fembots have feelings too" in the chorus. The song was released on 13 April 2010 as one of three promotional singles before the album's release.

"Fembot" was met with positive reviews from critics, with some of them highlighting its humor and lyrical content. Critics also noted the continued "android theme" present on a few of Robyn's previous songs, including the Röyksopp collaboration "The Girl and the Robot" (2009). Commercially, "Fembot" performed well on the charts, managing to reach number three on the Sverigetopplistan chart and number ten in Norway. Robyn performed the song for the first time on talk show Skavlan in April 2010, and later included it on the set lists for the All Hearts Tour (2010) and the Body Talk Tour (2010).

Background[edit]

In an interview with music webzine Pitchfork, Robyn was asked if "Fembot" represented a dislike for the notion that humans and robots are separate, and she responded by saying, "The classic, dystopian theory about the future is not really as interesting to me. Like the book I, Robot is all about these robots that basically went nuts, and it's always because they were wrongly programmed by humans. It's like a mirror of our own psyche. It's almost like the wrong program could be a mental disease."[1] She elaborated that "Fembot" is not "really about the future or about space or anything", saying that it is about the present time. "Technology is becoming more organic, and using the word 'fembot' or 'robot' in a song makes things more human to me", she said.[1] In an interview with music website Stereogum, she explained that the song also chronicles her personal experience of "turning 30 and contemplating children".[2] She elaborated, saying,

The song was uploaded the song onto Robyn's official website on 17 March 2010.[3] It was later released to digital retailers in the United States on 13 April 2010,[4] and in Sweden three days later.[5] It was one of three promotional singles released before the release of Body Talk Pt. 1 and the official first single, "Dancing on My Own".[6]

Composition[edit]

"Fembot" was written by Robyn and Klas Åhlund, and produced by the latter.[7] It is in the key of D major and a tempo of 123 beats per minute with a "heavy R&B vibe".[3] According to Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone, the song continues the "android theme" previously present on Robyn's track, "Robotboy", the interlude "Bionic Woman" and the Röyksopp collaboration, "The Girl and the Robot" (2009).[8] DJ Ron Slomowicz of About.com compared its musical and lyrical style to that of previous single "Konichiwa Bitches" (2007).[9] According to Jer Fairall of PopMatters, the song utilizes "a spare, beepy two-note synth hook and a squelching electronic rhythm."[10] Robyn's vocals in the song are layered with Auto-Tune and vocoders.[3][11] During the verses, she adapts her distinctive rapping style,[12] and exclaims lyrical lines such as "I gotta lotta automatic booty applications" and "I'm a very scientifically advanced hot mama."[13] Nate Chinen of The New York Times wrote that Robyn "rap[s] a series of double entendres in a digitally processed purr", and then proclaims her "voguish fixation on androids" in the chorus;[14] "I’ve got some news for you / Fembots have feelings too".[11] According to Lindsey Fortier of Billboard, "Fembot" sees Robyn "get[ting] in touch with her urban side".[15]

Reception[edit]

Robyn performing "Fembot" on the Body Talk Tour

Michael Gragg of MusicOMH wrote that "Though the lyrics are daft [...] it's exuberance and general sense of fun is so infectious that when the chorus kicks in you barely notice what she's saying."[16] Jer Fairall of PopMatters wrote, "Look no further than the wry chorus hook of “Fembot” for proof of Robyn’s deftly subversive sense of humor." Fairall also pointed out that "[The chorus] might hint, at first, in the direction of some Blade Runner-esque sci-fi pathos, but Robyn turns it towards a canny meta-commentary on the fluid sense of authenticity that pervades 21st century pop stardom." Fairall, however, thought that "the verses are nothing more than an inventory of the titular ‘bot’s synthetic virtues."[10] Ben Norman of About.com selected the song as his favorite track on Body Talk Pt. 1, and wrote that "'Fembot' is the incredibly quirky and well-written Robyn-rap track that needs to be heard to be believed."[17] Christopher Muther of The Boston Globe praised the song for having "one of the most entertaining lyrics to emerge this year".[18]

"Fembot" debuted at number seven on the Sverigetopplistan chart on the issue dated 23 April 2010, becoming the week's highest debut.[19] The following week, it rose four positions to number three, which became its peak. The song spent seven weeks on the chart, before dropping out in June 2010.[20] In Norway, "Fembot" debuted at number nineteen on the VG-lista chart and peaked at number ten.[21] The song debuted and peaked at number ninety-nine on the European Hot 100 Singles chart on the issue dated 15 May 2010.[22]

Live performances[edit]

Robyn performed the song on 16 April 2010 on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan.[23] A writer from music website Stereogum wrote that Robyn did the song very well live, and commented; "With just a keyboardist doubling as robot hypeman and two drummers, the performance is extremely faithful to the recorded version. It fact, it doesn’t really pop until the end and we get two seconds of Robyn doing the robot."[24] Robyn also performed the song on the All Hearts joint tour with American singer Kelis during the summer of 2010. Robyn opened the show with "Fembot", which was preceded by a computerized voice counting down.[25] Joanna Buffum of MTV Iggy wrote that the song "set the tone for the futuristic electro light show to follow".[26] The song was also included on the set list for the Body Talk Tour.[27] Similar to the All Hearts Tour, the show commenced with robotic voices over the speakers and backed by a heavy beat, before Robyn began singing "Fembot" as multicolored strobes lit the stage.[28] However, for the second North American leg and onwards, "Time Machine" took over as the opening number.[29]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[4]
  1. "Fembot" – 3:35

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Robyn – lyrics
  • Klas Åhlund – music, lyrics, instruments, programming and production
  • Niklas Flykt – mixing

Source[7]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[22] 99
Norway (VG-lista)[21] 10
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (28 June 2010). "Interviews: Robyn". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media, Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Jessica (10 March 2010). "Progress Report: Robyn". Stereogum. Buzzmedia. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Dombal, Ryan (17 March 2010). "Robyn Talks Ambiguous 2010 Plans". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media, Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Robyn - Fembot MP3 music downloads". us.7digital. Archived from the original on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Robyn - Fembot MP3 music downloads". se.7digital. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Daw, Robbie (19 April 2010). "Robyn’s First ‘Body Talk’ Single "Dancing On My Own" Is Full Of Disco Heartache". Idolator. Buzzmedia. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Body Talk Pt. 1 (booklet). Robyn. Konichiwa Records. 2010. 
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (18 March 2010). "Robyn Unveils New Track "Fembot"". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Slomowicz, Ron (24 March 2010). "Song of the Day: Robyn - "Fembot"". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Fairall, Jer (14 June 2010). "Robyn: Body Talk, Pt. 1". PopMatters. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Gardner, Noel (9 June 2010). "Robyn - Body Talk (Part 1)". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Koski, Genevieve (15 June 2010). "Robyn: Body Talk Pt 1". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  13. ^ Dombal, Ryan (24 March 2010). "Listen: Robyn: "Fembot"". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  14. ^ Chinen, Nate (13 June 2010). "Critic's Choice - New CDs". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  15. ^ Fortier, Lindsey (16 July 2010). "Robyn, "Body Talk Pt. 1"". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Robyn - Body Talk Pt 1". MusicOMH. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  17. ^ Norman, Ben. "Robyn Body Talk - CD Review". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  18. ^ Muther, Christopher (14 June 2010). "Robyn, 'Body Talk, Pt 1'". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com - Singles Top 60 - 23 April 2010". Singles Top 60. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Robyn – Fembot". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Norwegiancharts.com – Robyn – Fembot". VG-lista. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  22. ^ a b "Robyn – Chart history" European Hot 100 for Robyn. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  23. ^ Magnusson, Cassandra (16 April 2010). "Robyn: pratar om att skaffa barn". Nyheter24 (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  24. ^ Jessica (17 April 2010). "Robyn – "Fembot" (Live on Skavlan)". Stereogum. Buzzmedia. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  25. ^ Kevin, Bronson (16 July 2010). "Robyn and Kelis Launch 'All Hearts' Tour in L.A.". Spin. Spin Media LLC. Retrieved 11 March 2011. 
  26. ^ Buffum, Joanna L. (10 August 2010). "Robyn @Webster Hall, NYC: The Swedish Dance Diva Ruled the Night with Kelis, Dan Black + Far East Movement". MTV Iggy. MTV Networks. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  27. ^ Mason, Kerri (9 November 2010). "Robyn Revs Up Miami's Fillmore". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  28. ^ Schoonmaker, Vaughn (11 November 2010). "Robyn Brings Love, Dance, and Body Talk To New York". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  29. ^ Ganz, Caryn (7 February 2011). "Robyn Takes the Party to New York City". Spin. Spin Media, LLC. Retrieved 19 February 2011.