×
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

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • 'This Is Us' Composer Siddhartha Khosla

    'This Is Us' Composer Siddhartha Khosla Signs With ASCAP

    Siddhartha Khosla, one of the busiest composers in TV with ongoing assignments for “This Is Us,” “The Kids Are Alright” and “Marvel’s Runaways,” has made the move to ASCAP, the performing-rights organization announced Wednesday. For all of his steady television gigs, “This is Us” remains by far the most prominent, partly because he provides prominent [...]

  • Sara Bareilles Premieres New Album at

    Sara Bareilles Premieres New Songs, Declares Love for Obama at Intimate L.A. Show

    “I know it’s been a really long time since I made a record,” said Sara Bareilles, introducing a night of mostly new music at the Troubadour Tuesday. Hearing some shouted assents from the audience, she parroted back what she heard to be some fan umbrage about that. “’You bitch!’” she echoed, bemused. “Well, I’ve been [...]

  • HALLIE ANDERSON AND JESSICA PAGE Mom

    Mom + Pop Promotes Hallie Anderson and Jessica Page to Co-General Managers

    Mom + Pop Music has promoted Hallie Anderson to co-GM and head of marketing and Jessica Page to co-GM and head of digital, the company announced today. They had previously served as VP of marketing and VP of digital strategy, respectively. “Being able to promote, empower and support Hallie and Jess in their new positions [...]

  • Jay Wilson Joins Mascot Label Group

    Jay Wilson Joins Mascot Label Group as VP of Publicity

    Jay Wilson has been named VP of publicity for Mascot Label Group, the company announced today. A veteran of Republic, Glassnote and Universal Records, In his new position Wilson will conceive and implement media strategies for the company and its roster of artists such as Beth Hart, James Morrison, P.O.D., Robert Randolph and the Family [...]

  • pharrell brain child show

    Pharrell Teams Up With Atomic Entertainment to Push 'Edu-Tainment' for Kids of Color

    Pharrell Williams may best be known as a Grammy-winning musician, but the 45-year-old is singing a different tune these days as the executive producer of “Brainchild,” a new Netflix series that teaches kids about science, technology, and current events. Co-created by Atomic Entertainment, the show is a spinoff of the New York-based production company’s “Brain [...]

  • Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid

    Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid First Earnings Report

    Proving that good is not always good enough, Tencent Music Entertainment shares fell 9 percent after the Chinese company released its 2018 earnings, wiping out $2.7 billion in market capitalization of what is arguably the biggest audio music service in the world. Chalk it up to big expectations and a short track record: Wednesday’s earnings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content