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My Truth

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My Truth
RobynMyTruth.jpg
Studio album by Robyn
Released 17 May 1999 (1999-05-17)
Genre
Length 58:34
Label BMG Sweden
Producer
Robyn chronology
Robyn Is Here
(1995)
My Truth
(1999)
Don't Stop the Music
(2002)
Singles from My Truth
  1. "Electric"
    Released: 29 April 1999
  2. "Play"
    Released: 21 July 1999
  3. "My Only Reason"
    Released: 22 November 1999
  4. "Main Thing"
    Released: 4 December 2000

My Truth is the second studio album by Swedish recording artist Robyn. It was released on 17 May 1999 through BMG Sweden. Robyn collaborated with producers including Lindström & Ekhé, Christian Falk, Billy Mann, Thomas Rusiak and Masters at Work during its recording. A pop and R&B record, My Truth is an autobiographical album for which Robyn co-wrote all fourteen songs. Certain lyrics reflect on the abortion the singer had in the fall of 1998, which sparked controversy when RCA Records began formulating a North American release. When she refused to make alterations to the album per request by the label, the plans to release My Truth outside of Sweden were cancelled.

Sweden-based music critics were generally positive towards My Truth and commended Robyn's growth as a songwriter. At the Swedish Grammis Awards in 2000, the album won the award for Female Pop/Rock Artist. Overseas critics were divided in their opinions of My Truth; they felt it was more mature than the singer's debut album Robyn Is Here (1995), but criticised the lack of catchy hooks. The album peaked at number two on the Sverigetopplistan albums chart and received a platinum certification by the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF). My Truth was supported by four singles—"Electric", "Play", "My Only Reason" and "Main Thing". Lead single "Electric" achieved commercial success; it peaked at number six on the Swedish singles chart and was certified gold.

Background and development[edit]

"I feel more safe about myself and my music now, and I've become more focused on maintaining a positive whole on the record, even though certain songs that I write are rather sad."

—Robyn on My Truth, June 1999[1]

Robyn's debut studio album Robyn Is Here was issued in Sweden in 1995, followed by a North American release two years later.[1] The record sold 1.5 million copies worldwide, per sales reports provided by BMG Sweden,[1] and spawned the releases of the top-ten singles "Do You Know (What It Takes)" and "Show Me Love".[2][3] Robyn Is Here also achieved a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million units.[4] In 1998, Robyn returned to Sweden after spending nearly 12 months on tour in North America. She told Billboard, "I returned [to Stockholm] from my year in the U.S. [and] I was so extremely tired of everything, including myself and my music."[1] She then began working on her second studio album, to be titled My Truth.[5] Robyn enlisted Ulf Lindström, Johan Ekhé, Christian Falk, Billy Mann, Cherno Jah, Masters at Work, Ken Fambro and Internal Dread to produce the project.[6] She had previously collaborated with Lindström, Ekhé and Falk on Robyn Is Here.[7]

Robyn was involved in the writing process for the entirety of My Truth, co-writing all fourteen tracks.[8][9] She teamed up with Swedish rapper Petter for a Swedish-language duet titled "Det gör ont ibland". The collaboration came about when the two were at a friend's country house. Petter said the song came together quickly, despite their different musical styles.[10] The track was produced by rapper Thomas Rusiak with additional production by Robyn, Lindström and Ekhé.[6] She recorded another duet for the album, titled "Healthy Love", with singer Cindy Heinold.[6][9] In the fall of 1998, Robyn had an abortion, which she revealed to the public months later in an issue of Café Magazine.[11] Following the abortion, she penned the songs "88 Days" and "Giving You Back",[8][12] to help her cope with the incident.[11] At the time of the album's completion, she deemed the latter among the best songs she had written thus far.[11] She began using songwriting as a coping mechanism during production of Robyn Is Here when she wrote "In My Heart" about her parents' divorce.[6] She wanted My Truth to be positive in spirit, but acknowledged there is "some sadness expressed". She said, "Every song is about something I've been through that I think is important to talk about. I have tried to turn these experiences into inspiring songs about my life."[6] Eric Broms photographed the artwork for My Truth, which sees Robyn wearing a feather headpiece designed by Sebastian Wahl.[6]

Composition[edit]

Described by commentators as an autobiographical album,[12] My Truth is a pop and R&B record.[14] Music critic John Lucas from AllMusic conceived it as "hardly a radical departure" from Robyn Is Here, yet more mature with "intelligent and introspective" lyrics and greater focus on the lyrical content as a whole.[8] "Det gör ont ibland" featuring Petter is located on the pregap of the first track as a hidden track.[15] Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman interpreted the first track, "Play", as slightly world music-tinged, while Lucas deemed it "as playful a song as [Robyn]'s ever recorded".[8][14] It is followed by the R&B piece "My Only Reason".[14] Next is the ballad "Underneath the Heart", which was likened by one critic to the catalogue of American singer Toni Braxton.[15]

The fourth track, "Electric", is an electronic funk song with elements of reggae music.[1][14] The title track holds a "convinced relativism", according to Robert Christgau,[16] while "Main Thing", a cover of Shot's 1986 single,[17] explores deep house, disco and funk genres.[8][14][15] The ninth track, "Giving You Back", is a piano ballad that addresses Robyn's abortion as she sings "I'm giving you back to where you came from but I'm not forgetting who you are".[13] David Schmader of The Stranger opined that it features a directness that is "unprecedented in pop", and compared its piano elements to those found in Braxton's work.[13] The following track, "88 Days", lyrically reflects on the abortion while showcasing a pop and R&B sound.[8][15] The thirteenth and final track, "Universal Woman", for which Robyn received sole writing credit,[6] exhibits both intelligence and emotional authority, according to Bjurman.[14]

Release[edit]

My Truth was released in Sweden on 17 May 1999 through BMG Sweden.[9][11] Around this time, RCA Records, Robyn's international label, were formulating the marketing plans for the album in the United States; the initial reports anticipated the release of an airplay single in September 1999, followed by the album in January 2000.[1] Due to the inclusion of two songs that reflected on the abortion incident, RCA asked Robyn to re-record portions of the album for the American market and pop radio.[12][18] On top of this, American music magazine Billboard published an article in June 1999 that falsely claimed she had a miscarriage rather than an abortion.[1] Ultimately, Robyn refused to alter the record and a compromise was not reached.[8] The negotiations came to an end after six months and the plans to release My Truth abroad were cancelled.[12][19] Robyn's manager Alex Strehl said, "I guess Robyn had moved in a direction that [RCA] didn't expect."[19] According to Robyn, the label wanted an album like Robyn Is Here and thus were not interested in investing in My Truth.[20] In 2001, she parted ways with RCA and entered a new record deal with Jive Records and Zomba.[19]

"Electric" was released as My Truth's lead single on 29 April 1999,[21] including both the radio edit and the extended album version.[22] The record became Robyn's third top-ten entry on the Sverigetopplistan singles chart, peaking at number six.[23] On 18 May 1999, it received a gold certification by the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF) for sales of 15,000 units.[24] "Play" was selected as the second single in June 1999,[1] and released a month later on 21 July with the previously unreleased song "Good Thang" as the B-side.[25][26] "Play" peaked at number 31 on the Swedish singles chart.[27] The third single, "My Only Reason", was released on 22 November 1999 with "Det gör ont ibland" as its B-side.[28][29] The single underperformed on the singles chart; it peaked at number 53 and only charted for one week.[30] "Main Thing" was issued as the fourth and final single on 4 December 2000 and did not appear on any charts.[31][32]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Aftonbladet 4/5[14]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[8]
Joyzine 4/5[33]

Critical reception of My Truth was generally positive in the Swedish press. Per Bjurman of Aftonbladet said that while the lyrical content of Robyn Is Here was charming, My Truth showed the singer's growth and maturity as a songwriter. He judged the album proved Robyn as a full-fledged musician and named it one of the best Swedish albums of the year.[14] Daniel Arosenius, writing for Joyzine, opined that Robyn had succeeded with the record and commended the musical direction.[33] A writer for Nöjesguiden highlighted "Main Thing" and "Electric", but critiqued the album's cheap production.[17] Similarly, Karolina Ramqvist of Dagens Nyheter disliked the "flat" production by Lindström & Ekhé and Mann, but argued Robyn's improvement as a vocalist partly saved the album.[15] The album earned Robyn her first Grammis at the 2000 ceremony in the category of Female Pop/Rock Artist.[34] The jury deemed it a "brilliant" follow-up to her debut album and praised the personal lyrics.[35]

As the album was not released outside of Sweden, it attracted little attention from overseas music critics. However, John Lucas did review the album on behalf of AllMusic, writing that "there are no truly weak moments" and praised it for being "much more organic and mature" than Robyn Is Here. On the other hand, he felt it lacked "instant" and "irresistible" hooks and criticised the "uniformity of sound that can make some songs drift in and out without really making any impression".[8] He concluded, "Not a commercial blockbuster then, nor a perfect listen, but this album does mark an important step forward for Robyn as an artist."[8] A negative opinion came from music critic Robert Christgau, who considered My Truth "as strained as you might fear", and used it as an example of Robyn's "awkward stage that hits teenpop stars like clockwork".[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

My Truth debuted at number two on the Swedish albums chart,[36] and was certified gold by the GLF for sales of 40,000 units on 18 May 1999, just one day after its release.[24] The album sold 50,000 copies in its first four weeks,[1] and remained on the albums chart for 27 non-consecutive weeks, 11 of which were in the top 10.[36] On 1 October 1999, My Truth received a platinum certification by the GLF, indicating sales of 80,000 copies.[24] In 2001, Billboard reported it had surpassed sales of 130,000 units in Sweden.[19]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of My Truth.[6]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
0. "Det gör ont ibland[a]" (featuring Petter)
4:40
1. "Play" Lindström & Ekhé 3:58
2. "My Only Reason"
  • Mann
  • K-Fam
4:00
3. "Underneath the Heart"
  • Robyn
  • Mann
Mann 4:22
4. "Electric"
  • Robyn
  • Lindström
  • Ekhé
Lindström & Ekhé 5:09
5. "My Truth"
  • Robyn
  • Cherno Jah
  • Ken Fambro
Jah 3:52
6. "Main Thing"
Masters at Work 4:42
7. "Healthy Love" (featuring Cindy)
  • Robyn
  • Ekhé
  • Lindström
  • Cindy Heinold
Lindström & Ekhé 4:40
8. "Monday Morning"
  • Robyn
  • Mann
Lindström & Ekhé 4:29
9. "Giving You Back"
  • Robyn
  • Donnie Boynton
  • Fambro
K-Fam 5:01
10. "88 Days"
  • Robyn
  • Mann
  • Mann
  • Internal Dread[b]
3:58
11. "Long Gone"
  • Robyn
  • Lindström
  • Ekhé
Lindström & Ekhé 4:33
12. "Not on the Inside"
  • Robyn
  • Mann
Christian Falk 4:12
13. "Universal Woman" Robyn Falk 5:11
Total length: 62:47
Notes
  • ^[a] "Det gör ont ibland" is located in the pregap of track 1 (referred to as track 0) as a hidden track
  • ^[b] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[c] signifies an additional producer

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of My Truth.[6]

  • Robyn – vocals, songwriting (all tracks); backing vocals (tracks 1, 6, 12); co-production (track 0); vocal production (track 5); vocal arrangement (tracks 5, 9)
  • Arnthor – additional keyboards, recording (track 0)
  • Mats Asplén – keyboards (tracks 12, 13)
  • Francisco Ballesteros – hair
  • Steve Barkan – mixing (track 6)
  • Katreese Barnes – backing vocals (track 6)
  • Patric Berger – guitar (track 4
  • Britta Bergström – backing vocals (tracks 1, 10)
  • Stefan Boman – engineering (track 3)
  • Donnie Boynton – piano (tracks 2, 9); songwriting (track 9)
  • Eric Broms – photography
  • Ralph Cacciurri – assistant engineering (track 9)
  • Johan Carlberg – resonator guitar (track 8)
  • Mike Ciro – guitar (track 6)
  • Pär-Ola Claesson – strings (tracks 0, 1, 8, 11)
  • Sara Devine – backing vocals (track 6)
  • Dave Darlington – mixing (track 6)
  • Hernan "Boogie" Donoso – assistant engineering (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11)
  • Robin Dowling – assistant engineering (track 3)
  • Per Ekdal – string arrangement (tracks 0, 1, 8, 11)
  • Johan Ekhé – backing vocal arrangement, backing vocal recording (track 0); additional keyboards (tracks 0, 9); songwriting (tracks 1, 4, 7, 11); bass guitar (track 2); guitar (track 8)
  • Björn Engelmann – mastering (all tracks)
  • Almnils Erson – strings (tracks 0, 1, 8, 11)
  • Christian Falk – arrangement, bass, production, programming, recording (tracks 12, 13); mixing (track 12)
  • Ken "K-Fam" Fambro – arrangement, production, recording (tracks 2, 9); programming (track 2); songwriting (tracks 5, 9)
  • Leila Forstén – strings (tracks 0, 11)
  • Niklas Gabrielsson – handclaps (track 1); drums (track 8); tambourine (track 11)
  • Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez – songwriting (track 6)
  • Lars Halapi – guitar (track 13)
  • Martin Hansen – engineering (tracks 2, 3)
  • Cindy Heinold – songwriting, vocals (track 7)
  • Kenny Hickson – vocal arrangement (track 9)
  • Angela Holland – backing vocals (track 1)
  • Internal Dread – co-production, electric guitar, engineering (track 10)
  • Cherno Jah – arrangement, instruments, mixing, production, recording (track 5)
  • Janson & Janson – string arrangement (tracks 3, 10, 12, 13)
  • Henrik Janson – strings (track 12)
  • Henrik Jonsson – mastering (all tracks)
  • Ronny Lahti – mixing (tracks 12, 13)
  • Lindström & Ekhé – additional production (track 0); arrangement, instruments, production, recording (tracks 1, 4, 7, 8, 11); mixing (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11); vocal arrangement, vocal production (track 5)
  • Ulf Lindström – bass (track 0); guitar (tracks 0, 4, 8); songwriting (tracks 1, 4, 7, 11)
  • Gustav Ljunggren – horns, pedal steel guitar (track 11)
  • Bernard Löhr – mixing (track 3)
  • Billy Mann – arrangement, production (tracks 2, 3, 8, 10); songwriting (tracks 2, 3, 8, 10, 11); electric guitar, recording (track 2); acoustic guitar, backing vocals (tracks 2, 10, 12); bass (tracks 2, 3, 10); guitar (tracks 3, 8, 12); organ (track 10); vocal arrangement (track 12)
  • Gunilla Markström – strings (tracks 0, 1, 8)
  • Olle Markström – strings (tracks 1, 8)
  • Masters at Work – production (track 6)
  • Pirjo Neimelä – styling
  • Gene Perez – bass (track 6)
  • Petter – songwriting, vocals (track 0)
  • Paul Pimsler – guitar (track 3); electric guitar (track 10)
  • James Poyser – keyboards (track 6)
  • Luisito Quintero – congas, percussion (track 6)
  • Oscar Ramirez – assistant engineering (track 6)
  • Antonella Reyner – makeup
  • Rock-Owe – bass, piano (track 10)
  • Thomas Rusiak – production, programming, songwriting, string arrangement (track 0)
  • Stylee Scott – drums (track 10)
  • S.N.Y.K.O. – strings (tracks 3, 10, 12, 13)
  • Stephen Simmonds – backing vocals (track 3)
  • Brian Smith – engineering (track 9)
  • Alex Strehl – A&R, concept, executive production, design
  • Peter Swartling – A&R, executive production; heartbeat effect (track 3)
  • Pål Svenre – additional keyboards (track 5); keyboards (tracks 12, 13)
  • Esbjörn Svensson – piano (track 3)
  • Titiyo – backing vocals (track 10)
  • Little Louie Vega – songwriting (track 6)
  • Sebastian Wahl – artwork, concept, design
  • Roger Williams – songwriting (track 6)

Charts and certifications[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[36] 2

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Sweden (GLF)[24] Platinum 80,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Sweden 17 May 1999 (1999-05-17) CD BMG Sweden [9][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lofthus, Kai R. (19 June 1999). "Robyn's Second Album Displays Matured Sound". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Robyn – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Robyn". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Bell, Carrie (16 May 1998). "'Titanic' Hits 10 Million Mark in April RIAA Certifications". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Robyn – Biography". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i My Truth (Media notes). Robyn. BMG Sweden. 1999. 
  7. ^ Erlweine, Stephen Thomas. "Robyn Is Here – Robyn". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lucas, John. "My Truth – Robyn". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d "My truth" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Lindham, Elisabeth (7 May 2000). "Robyn & Petter jobbar ihop" [Robyn & Petter are working together]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Hammar, Filip (15 April 1999). "Robyn: Jag gjorde abort" [Robyn: I had an abortion]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d Hutchison, Kate (31 May 2014). "Röyskopp and Robyn: 'We decided, let's not be afraid of being pretentious'". Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c Schmader, David (19 October 2011). "Dancehall Queen". The Stranger. Index Newspapers. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Bjurman, Per (14 May 1999). "Aftonbladet recensioner: CD" [Aftonbladet reviews: CD]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Ramqvist, Karolina (14 May 1999). "Slickat. Robyn räddar Lindström & Ekhés platta produktion" [Robyn saves Lindström & Ekhé's flat production]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Bonnier Group. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (16 February 2011). "Dancing on Her Own". Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "My Truth". Nöjesguiden (in Swedish). 25 May 2000. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Robyn: 'I just want to be normal'". The Independent. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c d Taylor, Chuck (21 July 2001). "Sweden's Robyn Returns with Zomba/Jive Deal". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Börjesson, Tore (6 November 2002). "Expedition: Robyn". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "Robyn: Electric". Amazon.com. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "Electric" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Robyn – Electric". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  25. ^ "Robyn: Play". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  26. ^ "Play" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  27. ^ "Robyn – Play". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "My only reason" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  29. ^ "Robyn: My Only Reason". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  30. ^ "Robyn – My Only Reason". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  31. ^ "Robyn: Main Thing". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  32. ^ "Main thing" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  33. ^ a b "Recension – Robyn" (in Swedish). Joyzine. 10 October 1999. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  34. ^ Lundqvist, Anders; Lofthus, Kai R. (25 February 2000). "Sweden Celebrates Sales High At Awards". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  35. ^ "Här är årets alla Grammisvinnare" [Here are this year's Grammis winners]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 14 February 2000. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  36. ^ a b c "Swedishcharts.com – Robyn – My Truth". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2015.

External links[edit]