Swedish pop queen proves ab­sence makes the heart grow stronger.

Q (UK) - - Contents - VIC­TO­RIA SE­GAL

It doesn’t get much more ea­gerly-awaited than the Swedish elec­tro-pop queen’s lat­est. Can she meet ex­pec­ta­tions?

Honey pushes Robyn’s fas­ci­na­tion with sad­ness even fur­ther.


Miss­ing U, the lead song from Robyn’s first solo LP since 2010’ s Body Talk, didn’t im­me­di­ately sug­gest a come­back of fan­shock­ing rein­ven­tions. With its slow builds and re­veals, its gaps and hol­lows – “The space where you used to be/Your head on my shoul­der” – it was on melan­choly brand, weep­ing on the same dance­floor where With Ev­ery Heart­beat or Danc­ing On My Own were work­ing through the pain. Honey, though, pushes Robyn’s fas­ci­na­tion with sad­ness even fur­ther, a de­con­struc­tion of heart­break pulling out all the emo­tional cogs and catches with the pre­ci­sion of a watch­maker. Hu­man Be­ing is all nerves and wires, the pulse mak­ing it sound like some­body us­ing sonar to find an­other warm body. The stripped-out, mus­cle­mem­ory disco of Be­cause It’s In The Mu­sic – “they wrote a song about us, it’s called some­thing like Star­dust”, evok­ing Hoagy Carmichael’s stan­dard and Mu­sic Sounds Bet­ter With You – han­dles the ex­quis­ite pain of hear­ing “our” song af­ter the “us” is gone, a re­la­tion­ship frag­ment pre­served in mu­si­cal am­ber. Yet af­ter the gauzy fugue of Baby For­give Me and Send To Robin Im­me­di­ately, the record plunges into the sen­sual heal­ing of the ti­tle track and the tiki ex­ot­ica of Beach2K20, syn­thetic bliss that feels close to the real thing. It ends with Ever Again, a state­ment of de­fi­ance that sounds as if all Robyn’s mol­e­cules are rolling back to­gether again, like the pop Ter­mi­na­tor she so clearly is. Ab­sence might de­fine Honey, but Robyn, as al­ways, makes her pres­ence felt.

Lis­ten To: Honey | Hu­man Be­ing | Be­cause It’s In The Mu­sic

“I’ll be back!” Robyn – pop’s Ter­mi­na­tor.

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