Robyn Claimed That Her Second Album Was Never Released In The U.S. Because She Wrote Songs About Abortion
If you've ever wondered why Robyn's second album never made it across the Atlantic, the singer herself suggested in a New York Times profile that it was because it contained songs referencing the young artist's 1998 abortion. The Swedish star opened up a bit more in the interview about why My Truth was never released in the U.S., and, according to the singer, it had nothing to do with her talent.
Robyn first burst into the United States' collective consciousness in 1997 with her debut album Robyn Is Here, which included Top 10 hits like "Do You Know (What It Takes)" and "Show Me Love." But then the hitmaker disappeared from the American music scene until the 2005 release of her fourth album, Robyn. So what happened to albums two and three?
According to the singer, Robyn had been poised to follow-up Robyn Is Here in the U.S., with her 1999 album My Truth, right up until her label took issues with two of the songs on the recording. Those songs were "Giving You Back” and “88 Days," both written to help Robyn process her abortion in the fall of 1998. “You can’t really talk about stuff like that in America, or you couldn’t at the time,” the 39-year-old told The New York Times, adding, “Not if you were an 18-year-old pop star.” Bustle reached out to her label at the time, RCA Records, but they had not responded at the time of publication.
It is true that her label decided not to release the album in the U.S., despite the success of Robyn Is Here. In a July 2001 interview with Billboard, the artist's then-manager Alex Strehl told the outlet, "We went back and forth for six months. I guess Robyn had moved in a direction that they didn't expect." Like Robyn told The New York Times, Strehl does not explicitly state that the album was shelved because of the songs about abortion. However, combined with Robyn's recent quote, it does suggest that the singer believes that the label shied away from releasing a pop album that addressed abortion.
But for as uncomfortable as she felt the subject matter made those around her, Robyn has never made her voice smaller for the benefit of others. The Muse reports that when RCA asked her to rewrite some songs for the American release, the young star refused. If that report is accurate, it's truly incredible. For Robyn to be so sure of herself and steadfast in her message from such a young age makes it all the more remarkable that she fought her way back into the American market.
Just before the release of My Truth, Robyn explicitly confirmed that she wrote songs about having an abortion. In an April 1999 interview with the Swedish outlet Café Magazine, the singer told the outlet how she'd agonized over her decision, and detailed the two tracks she'd written to help her cope.
At the time, she even told the outlet that she felt "Giving You Back" was one of the best songs she'd written to date, with lyrics like:
"Every second I / Long for the day / When you come back / Come back to stay / When the time is right / When there's no wrong / I'll be there for you / And I'll be strong"
Now almost two decades later, Robyn stands by her songs. And, at the end of the day, she's poised to release her eighth album Honey on Oct. 26, whether you agree with her choices or not.