Come on, admit it, you're a little obsessed with Robyn too. (Photo by Natasha Moustache/WireImage)

A Brief History of Lorde’s Friendly Fixation with Robyn

Even internationally famous pop stars get starstruck!

by Emma Specter
|
Oct 26 2018, 6:11pm

Come on, admit it, you're a little obsessed with Robyn too. (Photo by Natasha Moustache/WireImage)



Robyn’s first new album in eight years came out today, and it’s already awash in praise everywhere from Noisey to Pitchfork to The New Yorker. One very important Robyn fan, though, has yet to weigh in: what will Robyn's biggest fan, Lorde, say about the album?

The history of the 21-year-old New Zealand pop star’s obsession with Robyn will feel familiar to anyone who ever developed a minor obsession with a friend's cool older sister (and honestly, who fills the role of ”cool older sister” better than Robyn?) In 2015, in an extremely fangirl paean to the song on Tumblr, Lorde admitted that Robyn’s 2010 hit “Dancing On My Own” served as inspiration for her own studio recording sessions:

"[T]his song, to me, is perfect. It's happy and sad, fiery and independent but vulnerable and small, joyous even when a heart is breaking. every line is perfect, how that second verse ('stilettos and broken bottles / i'm spinning around in circles') stumbles perfectly into that bridge ('the lights go on, the music dies / …i just came to say goodbye'), and final chorus. it's just perfect. we put it on right there in the studio, and i was up out of my seat dancing with my eyes screwed shut, and my hands up around my ears, and we looked into each other's eyes and sang the words, and i could feel something hot and teary in the back of my throat just from FEELING so much at once. and i think it was then when i realized i'm going to be in love with music for the rest of my life."

Lorde has also covered Robyn’s hits on numerous occasions, joining forces with frequent collaborator (and rumored Powerpoint secret boyfriend) Jack Antonoff to reinterpret Robyn's “Hang With Me” everywhere from Governor's Ball to Webster Hall.

Lorde’s devotion to Robyn occasionally veers into sweet-slash-Single White Female-adjacent territory, like when she and Antonoff performed “Liability” on Saturday Night Live with a framed portrait of Robyn on top of their piano (extremely normal behavior).

According to Newsweek, the two kept the Robyn portrait in the studio as a sort of patron saint to watch over them while they recorded Melodrama, which seems fittingly melodramatic. The influence is particularly clear in the hit track “Green Light,” the visuals for which are clearly indebted to “Dancing On My Own.”

Whether on Tumblr or in her music, it’s fun to watch Lorde’s obviously genuine admiration for Robyn spill over unconstrained. (A press rep for Lorde declared her unavailable for comment about Robyn’s new album, so we’re just going to go ahead and assume she thinks it owns.) Who knows, maybe a collaboration between the two foreign-born pop stars is in the cards for Robyn’s next release? Dare to dream!

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