Not every artist can successfully maintain a career after a long hiatus between albums. Did anybody even notice that Fergie released an album last year, 11 years after her 2006 smash hit, The Dutchess? Exactly.
However, that didn’t pose an issue for Swedish dance-pop sweetheart Robyn on her latest album Honey, which came eight years after her previous record, Body Talk.
Honey starts off with a whisper rather than a bang. The soft-spoken syncopation of the opening track, “Missing U,” somehow packs an immense amount of emotion and power into a song where Robyn barely sings louder than someone with a Macbook types on their keyboard. This expert concoction of contained craze remains evident throughout the rest of the nine-track record.
Other standards include the wonderfully weird “Human Being,” featuring Zhala. As Robyn deadpans her testimony of worldly proclamations of what she believes, you can’t help but bob your head along to the chilling yet catchy track. Although the muted, echoing strings of “Because It’s In The Music” sound like a video game soundtrack, the deep synths and Robyn’s high notes stitch together this delightfully dance-worthy bop.
While the overlying tracks on songs like “Send To Robin Immediately” or “Beach2k20” are pleasant and relaxing enough, their sparse amount of lyrics is mystifying, particularly on such a short album.
And while title track is a bit underwhelming on the surface, the intoxicatingly rich imagery in the lyrics allow this to appropriately set the tone of the dream-induced, cosmic-tinged album.
“Between The Lines” and “Ever Again,” while not the highlights of the album, are still noteworthy. “Between” is a groovy, laid-back musing work, and “Ever,” of the same schtick, closes the album out on a hopeful, ever-pop tune.
While Robyn produces several decent songs, the album never truly reaches a climax, opting to comfortably coast along a plateau instead. There’s no true release of pure, unrestrained catharsis, like something is holding Robyn back on every line she sings. There’s no crowning moment like “Call Your Girlfriend” or “Dancing On My Own.”
Honey is for sure an album worth listening to at least once. Robyn is able to convey a lot of subtle emotion over the course of only nine songs, most of which blend together enough to make the song titles forgettable. However, whether she’s able to make her listener feel those same emotions is up for debate.