Courtesy of the artist
HONEY – ROBYN
Dance music's best kept secret is back for the sake of the future.
It’s been eight years since Body Talk. After the massive success of singles like “Dancing On My Own” and “Call Your Girlfriend,” Robyn stepped back from the pop conversation. The distance has done her well. With Honey (Konichiwa Records), out this past weekend, the Swedish singer-songwriter has evolved beyond the ultra-assertive 2010s electro-pop that she mastered. Body Talk was built to interject the market, to force you to see and hear Robyn from the margins. Here, those pulsing dance floor hymns have loosened into a language more fluid, and more house, with a bit of R&B and disco for influence. The nine tracks are invitations to groove, to dig your hips into the beat, rather than just thump your chest against it. It’s body contact over body talk.
Robyn the Fembot has been decommissioned for now, her hard edges and staccato rhythms have been shelved. Honey is delivered by a more realistic voice, concerned with the effect of light on water, with “strands of saliva,” with “every color and every taste.” Robyn, speaking with Interview said: “There was such a physical pleasure and sexuality to making music and creating this soundscape in which my body could experience those kind of feelings again.” She’s let the music – intimate, seductive, and emotional – teach her to feel again. Recovering from emotional trauma, Robyn writes how love and sensuality can help us cross the emptiness that loss creates. On title track “Honey,” Robyn asks, “Won’t you get me right where the hurt is?” Pleasure, she suggests, can be one path to healing pain, and honey is some of the most ancient nutrition.
One standout track is “Beach2k20,” the most lighthearted take on the questions Robyn asks on the album. It sounds like Nintendo Wii: Ibiza Day Party. The lyrics have the same mundane ecstasy as that post-bottomless brunch stumble, when you’re searching for something to do next. (“This cute place on the beach / They do really nice food / How do you get there? / I mean, it’s right on the beach / Come through, it’ll be cool”). It sounds like electric blue cocktails by the water, cones of coconut ice cream… maybe some bacalao! It sounds how the 2k20s might.
Honey is the release of “the hermit’s sensual ecstasy,” it is Robyn’s “sorrows turned to glass.” Glaciers melt into melodies, and grieving, and reaching for your ex from the corner of the club has gotten old. No more crying on the dance floor! No more dancing alone! Robyn asserts that you if you push yourself to the other side of pain and invite its possibility as a means for connection, then you may live more freely. Robyn makes it sound so easy.
Purchase the album here.