I was listening to Kleerup & Robyn's With Every Heartbeat last night. Robyn is the sort of popstar I approve of in general but would probably never buy an album by, as the majority of her songs I find to be quite good but not 'amazing'. I'd heard Heartbeat plenty of times before and not really given it much thought or credit. But watching the video last night I was struck what a magnificent song it was, spine-tingling and beautiful, like standing on top of a mountain and seeing for miles, or watching every single person in the club whooping with joy at the song you've just faded up on the mixer, or walking over the Thames at night, or smelling the Autumn bonfire smell. There's so much brilliant stuff out there and it makes me well up sometimes. This is because I am an enormous soppy hippy and should be forced down the mines for twenty years of hard labour to snap myself out of it etc. But back to Robyn. Why did this song become beautiful all of a sudden after a dozen mediocre hearings?
It could have been the video - the original version features neither Robyn nor Kleerup and is much better executed in terms of an entertaining visual. The newer version has Robyn walking backwards and looking sad, whilst some stop-motion lego blocks move around her. It's pretty rubbish both in concept and production values *but* you can see the pain on her face as she wrestles with expressing the emotions of the song. It's like she can't quite get across *just how much* it hurts with every heartbeat and is cross with herself for writing lyrics that are somehow too big for her. She is only little, after all.
It might also have been because I was fully immersed and paying attention to the song, rather than listening on headphones whilst at work. But what is most likely is that I didn't understand what the song was trying to achieve until now. Previous listens had rendered me disappointed that the song didn't 'go anywhere', that it was lacking oomph or a change of pace/instrumentation, and it didn't bosh up properly for dancing. Now I can appreciate it as a mushy universe-hugging sunshine song*, in the vein of Ellen Allien's Way Out from last year. It doesn't need to bosh or have a key change, it's just fine as it is - and it's fast becoming one of my songs of the year.
*Unless you pay any attention to the lyrics, of course. Poor old Robyn, the course of true love never ran smooth - at least in the world of pop.