Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or so the cliché goes. For Robyn, it also allowed her reputation to grow, as a host of bright young stars burst into the pop limelight, all name-checking her as a vital influence. Her importance spread everywhere, a nightclub in Brooklyn even dedicated and named a regular themed night in her honour. She was the bright star that all pop planets aligned with and revolved around, from Taylor to Charli, all over a period of eight years where she only contributed to a handful of guest spots.
Following the exhausting, seemingly never-ending tour that followed 2010’s Body Talk, Robyn returned to reality with a bump. After a turbulent period in her personal life, the evidence of Honey suggests that she has come through the other side and is stronger than ever. Themes of self- acceptance abound, all placed within some of the most exquisite and unique pop music of the year. Produced by Metronomy’s Joseph Mount, it is set to redefine the genre once more.
The first thing that grabs the attention are the tiny details, the space that each track exists in. Some of the tracks here are perfect works of art. ‘Missing U’ takes a subdued message and turns into something defiant and upbeat, shades of peak-Madonna coming through towards the end. ‘Human Being’ and ‘Baby Forgive Me’ are low-key initially, slowed down with vast spaces occurring within the beats. When her voice soars towards the end of the latter track, it simply transcends.
There is a pleasing looseness to the production and writing, a collection of nine songs unconstrained by traditional pop song structure and strikingly unrushed. ‘Send To Robin Immediately’ merges seamlessly with the prior track, a classic house beat transforming deliciously into Lil Louis’ ‘French Kiss’. Robyn may seem to exist in a vacuum, but she is unafraid of delving into pop’s glorious past, dropping bangers like they are nothing. ’Because It’s In The Music’ could be from any era, its funky disco bassline almost ridiculously infectious. The title track, meanwhile, is simply a masterpiece.
By the time the album draws breath for the final finish, post the lush beats of ‘Between The Lines’ and the hazy midnight-beach party feel of ‘Beach2k20’, Robyn has emerged triumphant and supercharged, ready to battle on once more. “I’m never gonna be broken-hearted ever again” she sings on the closing ‘Ever Again’, a new resolve discovered. Along the way, she has created a bold record that will again come to define the next wave of pop for the next few years to come.