It’s been eight years since Robyn’s last al­bum, and ‘Honey’ ar­rives like a big sigh of re­lief

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE CRITICS’ CHOICE - LOUISE BRUTON

The re­turn of Robyn is a pretty big deal. It’s not be­cause her fans love her so much – like, re­ally love her – or be­cause her songs are a di­rect line to our heart­strings but it’s be­cause she’s ready to be back. In the re­cent pro­mo­tional trail for her eighth al­bum, Honey, she’s been quite vo­cal about the lows that filled the eight years since 2010’s three-part se­ries of mini-al­bums,

Body Talk. These lows, like break­ing up (but later to be rec­on­ciled with) her part­ner Max Vi­tali and the death of her long­time friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor Chris­tian Falk, oc­ca­sion­ally made her feel like she could never make mu­sic again.

Honey ar­rives like a big sigh of re­lief.

On the al­bum’s clos­ing track,

Ever Again, the Swedish singer sings that she’s “never gonna be bro­ken-hearted again”. Those well-ac­quainted with Robyn’s mu­sic know that this line is de­liv­ered with a wink and a nod be­cause her main cur­rency for the best part of her ca­reer has been em­pow­er­ing sad songs. On 2007’s With Ev­ery Heart­beat, she cap­tures the ever-present thud of a bro­ken heart and on this year’s come­back sin­gle, Miss­ing U, which also opens the al­bum, she notes that the ab­sence of a per­son in your life some­how in­creases their pres­ence ev­ery­where else; from the empty bed they once shared to ev­ery phys­i­cal ob­ject in her home that comes with a mem­ory. Robyn does sad well.


Whether on Call Your Girl­friend or Danc­ing On My Own, these sto­ries fuel a vi­o­lent rhythm that turns the club into a space for phys­i­cal and deeply emo­tional ther­apy. “I’m right over here, why can’t you see me? Oh! I’m giv­ing it my all but I’m not the girl you’re tak­ing home,” we wail with pained per­fec­tion, punch­ing the air and unashamedl­y re­lat­ing to these depths of lone­li­ness that Robyn cel­e­brates. But it’s not all tears and self-tor­ture. Don’t F*ck­ing Tell Me What To Do and

Fem­bot show her dark hu­mour while demon­strat­ing how you take a mu­si­cal genre and blow it to smithereen­s. Robyn spits rhymes, busts balls and gives Daft Punk a run for their money with her very own ver­sion of ro­bot pop.

In a very thor­ough pro­file in the

Guardian by Laura Snapes, we learn of Robyn’s im­pact on mod­ern pop mu­sic. Snapes cites Ri­hanna’s

We Found Love, Ari­ana Grande’s

Love Me Harder and Tay­lor Swift’s

Wel­come to New York as songs that were cut from the same sad cloth as Robyn’s, and the story goes that mega pop song cre­ator Max Martin claims that when­ever a fe­male artist comes into his stu­dio to make some magic, they place Robyn’s al­bum on the ta­ble be­cause that’s the al­bum they want to repli­cate. But there’s no mim­ick­ing Robyn.

The now 39-year-old – a pop star since the age of 14 – is un­pre­dictable in her mu­si­cal move­ments.

Honey dives deep into the de­spair of mend­ing a bro­ken heart, but where she once used her sad­ness as an ar­mour, Honey ends on an op­ti­mistic note. Learn­ing from her past heartaches, she ap­pears to shelve her trade­mark sad­ness on the fi­nal track, ac­knowl­edg­ing the chap­ter that she’s fi­nally ready to be­gin.


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