In a way, artists are quite lucky because they can use the pain they feel when their relationships fail into material for their work – and since millions of people can relate to heartbreak and broken relationships, these songs often become big hits for these artists (think Taylor Swift and the band The Script), and some of them even get luckier by winning awards for it (think, Adele and Sam Smith, and their Grammy winning albums). Of course, we wouldn’t wish ill in the relationships of any of our favorite artists, but such is life. Through its course, there are bound to be heartaches and pain along the way. I will hazard a strong guess that Robyn just came out of a failed relationship because it is plastered all over her latest album, Honey. There is no escaping it, and although there are other songs with other themes in the album, the tight nine song collection is reeking with sadness and pain. The music too has changed. This is not the Robyn of 2010’s Body Talk series of mini-albums. While I was listening to it, it was like lounge music that you hear when you are at a bar in a tropical resort – unobtrusive, classy, still danceable, but not in the wild ways you can with her other hits. This was kind of subdued dance music, where you can just sway smoothly while sipping that mojito. The whole sound gives you a more relaxed yet still upbeat atmosphere but it is when you listen closely to the lyrics, you’ll understand why Robyn toned it down a few notches in her latest opus.
Released in 2018, 9 tracks, 40 min
Robyn is a rare talent that has the ability to create her own unique sound, score big with critics but never really achieve mass success. I have followed her career for decades and have always loved her art - because it’s often much more artistic than just a pop album. I’ve flown internationally to hear her perform live. I religiously bought all the Body Talk EPs. I’m a fan. But after waiting eight years for a follow-up to her groundbreaking Body Talk, her recent album Honey fails to deliver. There are aspects of her old sound that creep into the music, but mostly the album is…nondescript. It’s boring, bland, dated and weak. Body Talk was loud, brash, ahead of its time. Maybe it’s not fair to compare the two, but it’s a huge departure from what we’ve grown to expect from Robyn. In between Body Talk and Honey, Robyn released a mini-album with long time collaborators Röyskopp entitled Do It Again. This mini-album was epic and was hailed as “flawlessly produced” and “adventurous” by music critics. It went on to be the first #1 Billboard Dance Album for both artists and garnered a Grammy nomination. Not bad for 5 songs. The title track was synth-heaven with a hard definitive beat. The song was was unapologetically sexy and addictive. It was like a candy you couldn’t get enough of. I outline all of this because this was the last major project before Honey. Usually you see trends in a performers career - so perhaps for the latest album, I was expecting a pulsing dance album with bold energetic anthems. Silly me. Honey isn’t a bad album. It’s just a total abandonment of what Robyn used to sound like. Before she was an apologetic badass making killer dance tracks. Honey sounds like music that should be playing in the background of a nursery. Or maybe a nursing home? Robyn herself admits that the album was much more sensual and soft. For me, her version of soft has come across as weak. I’m also fully aware that the album won critical acclaim from music reviewers - but I think they were just insatiably hungry for new music from Robyn that they were happy with anything she gave them. Because, lets face it, the girl is a musical genius. Looking at the tracks, there are a few that do standout. ‘Missing You’ would have been tolerable as a 2nd or 3rd single, but not as the lead. It made it’s way on to the HBO TV Show Girls after the crazy success of ‘Dancing On My Own’ which appeared on the show and was from her Body Talk album. ‘Missing You’ had some of the electronic beats but even the bass is turned down low. ‘Human Being’ featuring Zhala is gentle and dark and forgettable. It’s certainly not a song you’d sing along to. ‘Because It’s in the Music’ lends itself to a clear and sparkly Asian feel. The song is alright but could be insane if they amped up Asian instruments, killed the synth, sped it up, and remixed the heck outta it. Thats not too much to ask is it? ‘Baby Forgive Me’ is painful: it drags, it’s sad, and it borders on being indulgent. I’m all for being emotional with your music, but it shouldn’t hurt for us to listen. ‘Send to Robin Immediately’ started out tragically and took almost 2 minutes until Robyn’s actual vocals began to ring through. It’s still terribly slow and sad but at least she sounds good in this small window of the album. ‘Honey’ is meant to be the sensual part of the album…obviously…and it’s so blatant it’s tacky. At least the beats pick up a bit here that give it a reminiscent sound of Robyn from days gone by. ‘Between The Lines’ is all over the place - the beats are all off, the sound goes from electronic to calypso to synth disco. Worst track on the album. ‘Beach2K20’ keeps picks up from the calypso in the last album and has a digital-mambo feel to it. This song didn’t bother me as much because there is no actual singing on it. ‘Ever Again’ closes out the 9 track album - and yes Robyn actually sings on this song. The song is tolerable and talks about getting over a bad breakup. If you have gotten this far, you’ve realized I’m not a big supporter of this album. I just can’t imagine that her fan base would totally buy into this soft and sad version of her. But if history is any indicator, we’ll have to wait a very long time for her redeem herself. Until then, I’ll just got back to the vintage hits.
I've been a fan of Swedish popstar Robyn for many years now so what you're going to read is anything but objective. I remember I was pretty excited to see her video clip of “Keep This Fire Burning” before going to school in 2002. At that time, I did not know anything about her music and career yet. I actually thought she was just another ephemeral artist with a one-hit wonder. During these years, I was also starting my music business career, if I may say so, by hosting my own show on a local associative radio. As a real sucker for mainstream pop music, I was dissecting the European music charts each week. It's probably how I learnt that this song was the lead single of her third album and that her career was almost one decade long.
Official Music Videos
Featuring Version Videos
Remix Version Videos
- Oct 26, 2018
- Alternative/Indie Rock
- Joseph Mount
- Klas Åhlund
- Mr. Tophat
- Adam Bainbridge
- Apmamman, Stockholm
- Shelter, Paris
- Pigalle, Paris
- Strongrooms, London
- Futur De l'Audiovisuel, Paris
- Konichiwa, Stockholm
- 123, Peckham
- Tophat, Stockholm
- Houses in Los Angeles and Ibiza
Honey is the eighth studio album by Swedish singer Robyn, and her first since Body Talk (2010). It was released on 26 October 2018 through Konichiwa and Interscope Records. It features the lead single "Missing U" and second single "Honey", a version of which originally featured in the final season of the HBO series Girls in 2017.Continue reading at Wikipedia...
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