×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Album Review: Robyn’s ‘Honey’

Eight years can be several eternities in the music world, and it’s a very long time for an artist to go without releasing a new album. But if you’re Sade, D’Angelo or, evidently, pop savant Robyn, you can take your sweet time, because your fans trust that it will be worth the wait.

Indeed, after leading the smart-alt-pop charge with her eponymous and “Body Talk” albums and songs like “Dancing on My Own,” Robyn has spent the last eight years doing seemingly everything except release a proper new Robyn album. She dropped a remix disc (and toured behind it) and a collaborative EP with her pals in Royksopp (and toured behind that, too), as well as tag-teams with La Bagatelle Magique, the Lonely Island, Todd Rundgren, Mr. Tophat and Metronomy (the latter two are collaborators on “Honey,” along with Kindness’ Adam Bainbridge and her longtime co-writer/producer Klas Ahlund). She also, as has been mentioned in seemingly every recent article about her, endured a wrenching breakup and went through extensive therapy.

All of this is mentioned less for historical than artistic context: “Honey” was hard won, and most of the above is present in the album’s songs, lyrically and/or atmospherically. The album is both elated and tense, blissful and sad. Its meticulous arrangements, pristine production and densely layered vocals imply years of obsessive work, but it rarely gets bogged down in details. It’s perfectionist but not stiff; there’s a spirit of freedom and abandon that overrules any rigidity.

The album’s primary sound is Robyn’s trademark shimmering pop and her nuanced, sweet-and-sour vocals, but it also finds her exploring new neighborhoods. “Honey” is not a dance-music album and isn’t even all that danceable; instead, it’s a pop album that is deeply informed by dance music, in particular a theory that Robyn floated in a recent interview — that unlike pop, where the payoff comes in a hook or the chorus, in dance music the payoff is often constant, based around the steady groove. That circular, repetitive structure underpins several songs here, including the glistening first single “Missing U,” as well as more dance-oriented tracks like “Send to Robin Immediately” [sic], “Between the Lines” and “Beach 2K20.” Nearly all of the songs are powered by deep sub-bass, which propels the beat without necessarily inspiring booty shaking.

The album concludes with its most direct pop song, “Ever Again,” a plush and sublime soundsplash that closes with many multitracked Robyns singing the song’s beautiful chorus over propulsive electric bass and sweeping washes of synthesizers. It’s a perfect sendoff to an album that’s both challenging and familiar, and a chorus she probably knew listeners would have echoing in their heads long after “Honey” ends. Let’s just hope it’s not echoing for another eight years …

Album Review: Robyn's 'Honey'

More Music

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]

  • French Montana performingCelebrities at BASE Dubai,

    Gucci Mane, French Montana, Tiesto Tapped to Perform Super Bowl Weekend

    Gucci Mane, French Montana, Tiësto and Kaskade are among the artists headed to Atlanta at the end of the month as part of Super Bowl weekend festivities in the city. The four performers will be playing at The H.wood Group’s annual Bootsy Bellows “Big Game Experience” pop-up, taking place this year at the new live music venue, [...]

  • apple music

    Verizon Bundles Apple Music With Top-Tier Unlimited Wireless Plans for No Extra Charge

    Verizon has expanded its ties to Apple — offering wireless subscribers on its two most expensive unlimited plans access to the Apple Music for no extra charge. Starting Jan. 17, Apple Music will be included in Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans, the telco announced Tuesday. For Apple, the bundling agreement promises to augment [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Jeremy Vuernick

    Capitol Music Group Promotes Jeremy Vuernick to Executive VP of A&R

    Jeremy Vuernick has been promoted to Executive Vice President of A&R for Capitol Music Group, it was announced today by CMG COO Michelle Jubelirer and president Ashley Newton. In his elevated position, Vuernick will draw upon his broad experience as an A&R executive to sign and develop artists for the company, as well as oversee recording projects for new and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content