After eight years of waiting, Robyn’s sixth album Honey arrives October 26. The long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Body Talk promises a sweeter, silkier feel than its predecessor, even as Robyn sticks to familiar emotional territory. Her music has always tread the line between eminently danceable and downright sad, but where Body Talk was all about hard-edged dancefloor anthems, new singles “Missing U” and “Honey” tackle intimacy (and the lack thereof) with a decidedly softer touch. Before announcing Honey in September, Robyn teased the release with a short film entitled “Missing U – A Message to My Fans,” which documents a Robyn-centric tribute party in New York. Here’s everything we know about the new album so far.
Robyn hasn’t been entirely absent these past eight years
Since Body Talk, Robyn has worked on projects with Röyksopp and La Bagatelle Magique, and released singles with a host of other artists. Her 2014 “mini-album” collaboration with Rökysopp, Do It Again, was a concentrated injection of futuristic electronica with the scope of a full-length; “Monument” is a highlight. La Bagatelle Magique was the duo of Robyn and longtime collaborator Christian Falk, whose death from pancreatic cancer in 2014 sparked a period of personal turmoil. The loss, along with a hard (but temporary) split from partner Max Vitali, was part of what inspired Honey’s first single, “Missing U,” as she recently told the New York Times.
The fembot has been “deprogrammed”
In an interview with the Guardian, Robyn described her recent years as a period of emotional and spiritual rehabilitation. She began psychoanalysis in 2010, working through personal and professional issues in what she describes as a “total deprogramming, rebuilding.” “I needed time to allow myself to dig into things instead of delivering,” she said, describing 2014-2015 as her darkest period. After taking time to grapple with the breakup, Falk’s death, and the pressure of international fame, Robyn says she’s finally arrived at a “free, happy place”—a feeling that comes through in the naturalistic imagery of Honey‘s title track, and the lushness of its production. “The goal wasn’t for me to come back,” she says. “I really feel like I rearranged my insides in a way.”
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Honey has nine songs
Robyn recently unveiled Honey’s tracklist in an animated video posted to social media. The track order “came together even before all the songs were finished,” she wrote in an accompanying note. Zhala, the first signee to Robyn’s Konichiwa Records, is the album’s lone featured guest. Here’s the full track list:
1. “Missing U”
2. “Human Being” (ft. Zhala)
3. “Because It’s in the Music”
4. “Baby Forgive Me”
5. “Send to Robin Immediately”
7. “Between the Lines”
8. “Beach 2K20”
9. “Ever Again”
Honey’s title track premiered on Girls over a year ago
“Honey” made its way onto streaming services on September 26 of this year, but Robyn first debuted a pared-down version of the song on a 2017 episode of HBO’s Girls. Though the song featured on the show was a stark banger, Robyn has said she “wasn’t happy with” that version. The official release is a slower burn, with fuller-bodied production and a heady bass throb marking a new twist on the classic Robyn formula. In the wake of the Girls episode, impatient fans took their frustration to social media with the hashtag #RELEASEHONEYDAMMIT. Robyn has since adopted the hashtag as a promotional campaign for the upcoming album, shouting it out loud at a panel at Red Bull Music Academy this past May.
Honey combines familiar Robyn themes with new inspirations
Jealousy, loneliness, and longing have long been Robyn’s conceptual bread and butter, and with Honey featuring songs as simultaneously energetic and mournful as “Missing U,” there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. As Robyn told the Times: “I was like, I’m not going to write one single sad love song. And then when I started writing, it was sad love song, sad love song, sad love song. But it’s in a different way.” While album credits include a few longtime collaborators (Klas Åhlund, Kindness, Zhala) and some newer ones (Joseph Mount of the band Metronomy), Robyn says the music will feature much more of her own production work. “I found a sensuality and a softness that I don’t think I was able to use in the way way before,” she wrote of her production inspiration in a statement. “Everything just became softer.” In that softness, Robyn continues to find new ways to blend melancholy into dancefloor ecstasy.
Robyn’s new album Honey is out October 26 from Konichiwa Records/Interscope. Revisit Spin’s 2010 feature story with Robyn here.