Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Royksopp ft. Karin Dreijer Andersson – This Must Be It

And, as is traditional with themed days on the Jukebox, Swedish Women’s Wednesday actually ends on Thursday…


Ramzy Alwakeel: The third cut from the heady Junior set, “This Must Be It” is a jittery sugar rush with injections of ambiguous vocal euphoria courtesy of Fever Ray. Regrettably, though, it follows two consecutive power-pop singles, both of which lacked anything like its sophistication or tact. Accordingly, Röyksopp’s 2009 promotional campaign could really have done with something a little more sensitive at this juncture – the sublime “Vision One”, perhaps, or something taken from Junior‘s forthcoming companion album Senior, which promises to be a good deal less diabetic.

Alfred Soto: If I’m going to endure bloodless North Sea disco, I at least need to feel a pulse, and this track by Madonna’s favorite electronic act boasts one. I do wish Bjork would sully her damn principles and record another “Big Time Sensuality.”

Chuck Eddy: Does this species of Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill” synth groove (also used of late in Natalie Imbruglia’s “Want”) have an official name? I’ve pretty much always just resorted to calling it “art disco,” but that might just be my stupid Americanness showing. Anyway, I like the forward motion of this, and the Gothy melody. Feels like an absolute void otherwise, but I don’t mind much.

Keane Tzong: “This Must Be It” seems to have been written solely as a platform for the moment in which Karin Dreijer moves from the verse into the chorus, singing in a clear, striking high tone instead of her usual muttering gasps. It’s a brilliant moment, and nothing, even the meandering instrumental that closes out the song and adds about 90 seconds of filler to the runtime, can detract from it.

Kat Stevens: I’ve always been rather hesitant to embrace The Knife in their saw-toothed original form, but Karin’s elastic voice stretches very well over this trancey bibble.

Ian Mathers: Their last collaboration with Dreijer Andersson, 2005’s great “What Else Is There?,” was stately and aching; this sounds like a song from Ladytron’s last album. Ladytron’s last album was not very good. Even the title sounds like it’s trying too hard to answer the unanswerable melancholy and doubt at the core of “What Else Is There?” Dreijer Andersson does her best to make it compelling, but the “longed-for bliss” bit in the chorus just makes her sound like cut-rate disco Bjork.

Renato Pagnani: It doesn’t have the same slow-burning, apocalyptic intensity that made “What Else Is There?” one of the best dance tracks this decade (and a [10] if there ever was one), but Röyksopp know how to unlock the pop diva in Karin Dreijer Andersson better than anyone. “This Must Be It” plays to Andersson’s strengths as a vocalist: her voice, a sharp, precise tool that evokes anxiety as naturally as it does longing or mystery, is given room to absolutely soar over pulsating synths, masterfully stretching her phrasing during her verses, caught somewhere in the vortex between bliss and a nightmare. She has always sounded ethereal, otherworldly in how purely she can communicate emotion; here Röyksopp give her the release she needs to shed her physical form and become something mythical.

Martin Kavka: When pop music is hailed, it’s usually because it allows us to envisage a radically different future. But 2009 seems to be shaping up as a year when the best pop music seems to come from an unknown past. Florence Welch and her neo-Stonehenge aesthetic, as well as DJ Quik’s 1980s (far more novel than the 1980s actually were) come to mind. Here, Röyksopp & Karin Dreijer produce a mysterious effervescence that never lets up; Filip and Andreas Nilsson rightly interpret this energy as better fitting an ancient tribe than our everyday world.

Anthony Miccio: I wouldn’t go far as to say the addition of a disco pulse improves on Andersson’s own work; I love her squirming and synthscaping fine without octave-hopping bass, and – whether forced or out of deference – she surrenders more spotlight to the beatmakers than she should. But there’s still plenty of supernatural beneath the steam.

8 Responses to “Royksopp ft. Karin Dreijer Andersson – This Must Be It”

  1. You won’t see it in the sidebar, but this makes for yet another double on our top scores list. Royksopp’s “The Girl and the Robot” is #11, and this is now #12.

  2. Renato’s blurb is a thing of beauty.

  3. Renato must be referring to one of the remixes of ‘What Else Is There?’ but WHICH one? the Trentemoller one I’m guessing (tho I still prefer the Jacques Lu Cont one…actually he did two himself but i mean the really really good one).

    The way Karin sings “smoke” on this goes some way to explaining my adoration.

  4. Swedish women know nothing about anxiety.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, guys!

    As for “What Else is There?,” I was actually referring to original in my blurb; I think there’s this epic quality to the original that the remixes, while expanding the track’s scope in certain ways, just don’t match. My favourite remix is Thin White Duke’s, actually.

    Steve, I’ve only ever heard Lu Cont’s radio edit—what other one do you speak of? Do you mean the two Emperor Machine remixes?

  6. The 8:26 Thin White Duke mix is different from, and not nearly as good as, the 3:50 Jacques Lu Cont Radio Mix.

  7. Yeah, I’ve only heard the original (and agree with Renato about it), but I guess maybe I should track down some of these remixes?

  8. […] Royksopp ft. Karin Dreijer Andersson – This Must Be It […]