“No, you’re not gonna get what you need, but baby, I have what you want. Come get your honey…”
“Honey” – the Robyn song, and also the upcoming album that we’re all very excited about – has become something of a mythological creature.
Partly premiered in unpolished form during the final season of Girls at the beginning of 2017, the song’s since evolved over the past 18-ish months or so, having been heard in different stages by journalists (as in this excellent New York Times article) and fans (live at This Party Is Killing You in Brooklyn) alike.
As she’s now explained a few times, “Honey” marks the longest she’s ever spent making a song – and she “really drove Joseph [Mount, of Metronomy] and Klas [Ahlund] crazy.”
“It’s not produced or written as a normal pop song. It is totally based on this idea of club music…when you’re listening to club music, there’s no reward. The reward isn’t, ‘Oh, here’s the chorus, here’s the lyric that makes sense.’ You have to enjoy what it is. You have to enjoy that there’s no conclusion,” Robyn explained in the NYT article.
“Club music taught me so much about myself. Having patience, or appreciating a different type of way of taking in life. That to me is like, what Off the Wall is. Or “I Feel Love” or “Rock Your Baby” with George McCrae…it’s a hypnotic thing. Time stops, and I don’t even think about where I am when I hear music like that. That’s the high that I want. That’s what I need.”
Today (September 26), after months and months of tinkering, Robyn’s finally set her “Honey” free – and it is, indeed, sweet.
For those anticipating an album of slick, throbbing pop bops a la “Call Your Girlfriend,” “Honey” will put at an end to that expectation: Robyn’s sound has evolved and smoothed out over the past eight years since Body Talk – a period marked by loss and depression and self-exploration. She went away, she collaborated, she dove deep into clubland with deep, dub-y remixes and experimental sounding EPs.
And while her August solo return “Missing U” provided a familiar, wistful feeling in the vein of “With Every Heartbeat,” it served to signal a goodbye to that chapter and bridge the gap to this, the Honey era.
True to the main source of inspiration, the song is cyclical and repetitive, without such an instant pay off as the Swede-pop choruses she’s delivered in the past. Instead, she invites us in, delicately seduces, and allows the rest of the world to melt away in a paradise of hypnotic, atmospheric pulsations.
Each declaration paints a vivid, sensual picture as she delivers the nectar to us: “At the heart of some kind of flower / Stuck in little strings of saliva / Won’t you get me right where the hurt is?” she declares. “Can you open up to the pleasure? / Just suck it up inside like a treasure / Let the brighter space be your passion.” Hang on to your stamens and pistils: it’s pollination season.
“For this, I started with the rhythm and how I wanted it to feel in my body when I was dancing to it. I think with club music, as you know very well, it’s not about the chorus and not about the lyrics in the same way…it’s not about getting to the end but enjoying where you are in the moment. I think that’s a different way to approach songwriting,” she told Annie Mac.
“It’s an important song to the album, and an important song for me personally…self-discovery, and a kind of sensuality that I’m really excited and happy about.”
The end result is exactly as she hoped to achieve: a song that feels like it has no real beginning or ending – it’s simply a heavenly, soothing, timeless listen.
In a way, the song still sounds like Robyn’s dancing on her own. Only this time, she’s fully at peace, lost in the rhythm, wrapped in the warmth and lushness of the beats…and it feels like home.
Come get your “Honey,” baby.
“Honey” was released on September 26. (iTunes)
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