In recent years, Scandinavia has been leading when it comes to producing ice-cold synth-pop with crystalline female vocals, from the experimental genius of Susanne Sundfør to more commercial artists like Highasakite and AURORA. Throughout this steady rise of Nordic electronica, the music of Robin Miriam Carlsson aka Robyn has been pulsating in the background with its steady club-beat. Her 2010 trilogy Body Talk quickly made Robyn into a pop icon both in her native Sweden and abroad. Eight years after she was left dancing on her own, the icon returns with a new full-length album: Honey.
Despite not releasing music under her own name for almost a decade, Robyn have produced several EPs in collaboration with other musicians, among them the acclaimed Norwegian electro-duo Röyksopp. The singer has been open about how her creative hiatus was partially caused by a depression born out of a breakup (she is now reconciled with her partner Max Vitali) as well as the death of a close colleague. Honey makes for a confident comeback; Robyn’s original lyrics are hummed out to the sound of slick, hypnotic house-groove. I was struck by how she seems to be channelling Róisín Murphy through her mixture of danceable beats and eclectic electronica; the album opens with a tinkering synth that would make the Irish queen of idiosyncratic pop very proud.
Robyn’s lyrics are still bittersweet: “Baby it’s so real to me/Now that it’s over” she opens on the album’s first track “Missing U”. However, the singer also allows for playfulness in the midst of all the heartbreak; we are treated to light-hearted Ibiza tunes (she threw a party there in August when she dropped the album’s first single) with “Because It’s in the Music”. The definite highpoint is the album’s title track; a strangely seductive invitation full of vivid, contrasting images. “At the heart of some kind of flower/Stuck in glitter, strands of saliva/Won’t you get me right where the hurt is?” she repeats, like a hypnotic mantra that makes you want to “come get your honey” just out of pure curiosity.