Inarguable Pop Classics #9 : Robyn With Kleerup - With Every Heartbeat

Inarguable Pop Classics #9 : Robyn With Kleerup – With Every Heartbeat



Robyn With Every Heartbeat

When Robyn’s fourth album was released In the summer of 2007 it had been almost ten years since she had been in the charts in the UK. This album was the first release on her own record label, the creation of which was spurred by her desire for increased creative freedom. When it finally got a UK release (two years after it came out in Sweden), ‘With Every Heartbeat’ had been added to the tracklisting. The song was recorded with Swedish producer Kleerup.


I still think of ‘With Every Heartbeat’ as a shock number one, because it happened just after the failure of Annie’s brilliant ‘Anniemal’ album two years before. I assumed the song would be a similar kind of cult success, breaking the top thirty at best. When I first heard it, I thought it was incredible — I still remember the excitement of the song gathering momentum. It got great radio play and before I knew it, ‘With Every Heartbeat’ was battling it out for number one with Timbaland and Kanye West. I think that was probably the last time I cheered when hearing the number one announcement.



With Every Heartbeat’ starts with Robyn asking questions like, “Maybe we can make it alright?” “Tell me would it make you happy baby?” There’s something in the way that Robyn sings these lines that makes her sound both heartbroken and hopeful. She sounds strangely defiant singing, “Still I’m dying with every step I take, but I don’t look back.” Almost three minutes in, the song changes pace and Robyn starts repeating “And it hurts with every heartbeat” over and over. There is no happy ending, there is no resolve, just the feeling of Robyn accepting her heartbreak and trying to move on.


Musically, Kleerup gives Robyn the perfect setting for these heartbreaking lyrics. As soon as ‘With Every Heartbeat’ starts, the strings sound melancholic and the drums mimic the sound of a heartbeat. Bit by bit different synths come in. Whether they’re throbbing synths or sparkling ones, they add to the emotional feel of the lyrics. It builds until the musical climax, where everything drops out apart from the strings, which are stunning. It’s a moving moment, making the impact of the song’s final minute even more devastating. What Robyn and Kleerup created here is a sad disco single that’s as good as the very best work of the Pet Shop Boys. It’s a perfect song.

In the eight years since ‘With Every Heartbeat’, Robyn has continued to have critical acclaim and some commercial success. Although this remains her only number one, Robyn has proved she’s capable of making very unexpected turns in her career, and it makes her the best kind of pop star. I wouldn’t rule out her topping the charts again someday.





God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.