Home > Uncategorized > Week 78: “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn (as covered by Erato)
07 Nov

Week 78: “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn (as covered by Erato)

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If there was ever proof that less is more, this song is it.

A charming re-working of a decidedly mediocre song by pop star Robyn, this song, performed by Swedish vocal group Erato, does what all good cover songs do: it takes the original song, strips it down to its basic strengths, and fills the gaps with something completely new.

A clip of Erato (well, three of them anyway) singing the song became internet wildfire a couple weeks ago, and the simplicity of the video just adds to the song’s charm. Shot in black and white on a cheap camera in their cramped Swedish kitchen, it proves that beauty doesn’t need a big budget. (Robyn’s video, in case you were wondering, is an awkward combination of Flashdance and Napoleon Dynamite. You probably don’t need to see it, but if you’re curious and you enjoy feeling slightly uncomfortable, go for it.)

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The percussion. Erato trades in Robyn’s highly produced sound for used cottage cheese containers. No word yet on whether the success of the YouTube clip has boosted cottage cheese sales in Stockholm.

2. The three-part harmonies. Okay, this might contradict my “less is more” argument, but Erato’s vocal arrangement is gorgeous.

3. The lyrics. To be fair to Robyn, she gave Erato some good lyrics to work with. This is an interesting take on the break-up song; a plea for compassion from the “other woman”, making her case that honesty is the only approach to a complicated situation…that’s good stuff. Robyn’s come a long way since “Show Me Love”.

Recommended listening activity:

Building a castle out of Tupperware.

  1. Lisa Marconi
    November 20th, 2011 at 14:47 | #1

    I wouldn’t have listened twice to the Robyn version, but I’ve been playing the Erato one backwards and forwards all weekend. The three-part harmony is perfect (and yes, it is in fact “less”, because there is nothing fancy about it, it’s all straightforward and simple).

    But I offer a different interpretation of the lyrics. I read them as “Get your act together and break up with her like you said you would”, and “Here are a few stereotype words that will help, this is what women like to hear, and then come back to me and forget about her.”

    Why? Listen to the impatient tapping of the cottage cheese containers: “It’s time you had the talk…”, and watch the smirk on her face as she sings about “the difference when we kiss”. ;-)

    All in that simple little clip – I think it’s wonderful!

  2. Jeff
    March 21st, 2013 at 16:36 | #2

    I disagree that it’s a mediocre song, I think it’s amazing! I’d been off on a ‘Round The World’ trip (yeah, lucky me!) when this came out, and I heard it on the radio on my return, and assumed it’d been a huge hit while we were away. I couldn’t believe it didn’t top the charts! It’s an incredibly clever lyric, coupled with an outstanding tune, sung very well! The Erato cover is cute, but I bet when Robyn recorded the original, she thought ‘No1 material, that’, and she should’ve been right!

    • admin
      March 22nd, 2013 at 17:18 | #3

      Maybe it depends on which version you hear first. The melody is so instantly catchy that it quickly connects to the listener…I heard the Erato version first and became so attached to it that hearing the original seemed weird. Perhaps the opposite applies to people who heard Robyn’s version first. Either way, full credit to Robyn for creating a thoughtful pop moment.

  1. March 5th, 2012 at 09:20 | #1