The perfect pop song. It’s the holy grail. So simple in theory yet almost uttainable in practice.
Some people believe there is a formula which relies on an exact equation involving pitch, positive lyrics and serotonin levels which, when tweaked precisely, puts the listener in a euphoric emotional state.
Clearly, groups such as The Beatles, ABBA and The Jackson 5 knew which buttons to push in the recording studio but if the process really was that scientific, examples of pop genius would be a heck of a lot more frequent; instead we have a singles chart choked up with songs and artists that won’t be remembered in another six months, never mind by another generation.
To be honest, I’m not sure what defines a perfect pop song – perhaps it’s something you just feel. Whatever it is, it’s in Hang With Me by ROBYN.
I was first introduced to the track on Monday evening by Big D, my sidekick on the Fresh Air radio show I presented earlier this month. I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. Two days and 67 plays later, I love it even more.
Hang With Me is built around a rippling synth melody that resembles the riff of The Who’s Baba O’Riley with drum machine backing. The song initially seems fairly understated as Robyn’s layered vocals quiver with lyrical self-doubt… until the chorus unexpectedly kicks itself into lift-off with an exhilarating disco swoosh and an impassioned plea of “just don’t fall recklessly, headlessly in love with me”. The feeling of elation is staggering as you’re left gagging for the chorus to come around again.
If the Swedish singer never comes close to scaling these heights again I wouldn’t be disappointed. She has delivered the best pop song of our generation on her sixth album (Body Talk Pt. 2) of a 15-year career as a recording artist. Thank-you, Robyn.