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Music Robyn

Published on December 10th, 2018 | by voxx

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Robyn – Honey

The Swedish pop queen proves absences make the heart grow stronger…

‘Missing U’, the lead song from Robyn’s first solo LP since 2010’s Body Talk, didn’t immediately suggest a comeback of fan-shocking 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, muscle-memory 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.

- By Jake White


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