Robin Miriam Carlsson's been releasing records for two whole decades now, but only since severing ties with her label in the mid-'00s has she found global fame. Before the shift, she was dropping R&B cuts smothered in, for lack of a better method of description, the '90s; since that turning point however, she's gone on to annihilate the competition with some of the most ingenious, frontier-pulverising pop music you're likely to stumble across. She's got cool hair too.

After dedicating her creative energy to her own ideas, thanks to her label Konichiwa Records (who coincidentally just snapped up the promising Zhala), she's been able to cultivate a forward-thinking brand of synth-led dance-pop. Not only is she a dominant force by herself, but she's also worked with some of the biggest and/or best names in music - Diplo, Snoop Dogg, Kleerup, Röyksopp, Neneh Cherry, I Blame Coco, Basement Jaxx, Madonna, Britney Spears and, erm, Peter Andre. As well as her phenomenal music career, she's been a UNICEF ambassador to Kenya and Tanzania, received awards in her native land for services to music, and as a child, voiced a character on the Swedish dub of All Dogs Go To Heaven.

There's oodles of cuts that could/should be on this list - all of the Body Talk trilogy, for example - but alas, we've painstakingly narrowed it down. These sixteen ditties are resolute evidence of her importance in the pop world: you'll find the best rap game, the most emotionally-invested ballads, the heftiest dancefloor bangers - Robyn's the complete package. There's no carbon-copying, industry-molded vapid shell-cum-starlet here; her motives are genuine, her music flawless and her artistic integrity uncompromised. Yes, it's weighted far more towards her electropop era, but preceding that, during her slick '90s R&B days, there was a certain... meddling... from her label overlords.

This whole list is studded with Robyn's signature stylistic schisming - from the ludicrous 'Criminal Intent', where she's apparently on trial for Jersey Turnpike-ing ("Somebody alert the authorities, I got criminal intent/ conspiracy to engage in lewd and indecent acts and events...") to her penchant for turning lovely insignificance or bespoke relationship situations scarcely touched by others ('Call Your Girlfriend'). It gives her an ubiquitous flair. She's a true original in a sea of fantastic plastic. Not to mention, when she's in fight-mode, you believe she's a force to be reckoned with - most rappers sounds saggy and deflated talking smack, but Robyn's a lethal entity with a short fuse and biting flow. Just take her spitting on 'Konichiwa Bitches' - "Tape you up good/ put you in the trunk/ C U next Tuesday/ you is a punk," - or the snarl on Snoop Dogg-guesting 'U Should Know Better' - "Now I declare most solemnly, the prince of darkness know better than to fuck with me." If Satan ain't fucking with her, it's probably best no-one does, really...

Anyway, enough rambling - Robyn is, great yadda yadda yadda. Here's the 405 Essential Robyn playlist.

  • Tracklist:
  • 1. Fembot
  • 2. Dancehall Queen
  • 3. Criminal Intent
  • 4. Konichiwa Bitches (Trentemoller Remix)
  • 5. Be Mine!
  • 6. Dancing On My Own
  • 7. U Should Know Better (ft. Snoop Dogg)
  • 8. Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do
  • 9. Show Me Love
  • 10. None Of Dem (ft. Röyksopp)
  • 11. Cobrastyle (Teddybears ft. Mad Cobra cover)
  • 12. With Every Heartbeat (ft. Kleerup)
  • 13. Handle Me
  • 14. Call Your Girlfriend
  • 15. Psycho
  • 16. Indestructible (Acoustic Version)