There’s a motive why Honey, the forthcoming sixth full-length from Swedish pop phenom Robyn, is so closely anticipated. For one, it’s been eight years since her final launch, the astounding Body Talk — and between that file and 2005’s seminal self-titled LP, Robyn’s been liable for a number of the most effervescent, radiantly emotional, and luxurious synth-pop of the century to this point.
Even extra astounding is that the 39-year-old singer/songwriter/producer’s profession has been going robust since she was a young person; in the event you’re of a sure age, you probably bear in mind just a few songs from her 1990s teen-pop part (“Show Me Love,” “Do You Know (What It Takes)” that managed to register as hits over within the U.S. In addition to her early materials, Robyn’s charted an adventurous path all through her profession, straying removed from straight-ahead pop and towards various strains of dance music, from flashy freestyle to cavernous darkish disco. Navigating the much less publicized corners of her spectacular catalogue is usually a bit troublesome and not using a primer available — which is precisely why we made one.
Look, we all know that in the event you clicked on this text, you’ve listened to “With Every Heartbeat” on repeat and have contributed at the very least just a few hundred views to the 6-million-plus-and-counting eyeballs who've watched the astounding video for “Call Your Girlfriend.” You’ve in all probability fired off just a few #WheresHoney tweets at Robyn too. This deep-cuts primer isn’t meant to rattle off her hits and crowning achievements — as an alternative, the songs chosen are meant to provide you a deeper understanding of her profession, in addition to to supply an alternate pathway to understanding the multitudes which can be Robyn. Why not dive in whereas counting down the minutes and hours till your Honey preorder hits your in-box?
“Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” (1995)
Released when she was simply 16 years previous, the sound of Robyn Is Here is greater than indicative of the time interval during which it was launched, largely comprised of low-slung R&B motifs and the occasional dusty hip-hop beat or two. There are some aberrations from that system, although: Max Martin co-writes “Do You Know (What It Takes)” and “Show Me Love” (the latter of which appeared on the U.S. model of the album, in addition to the Swedish re-release) provide hints of the sound Martin’s Midas contact would dominate pop airwaves with close to the tip of the last decade, and the sing-songy “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” blooms from a skittish R&B beat to the kind of infectious key-change-heavy refrain that’s wholly out of trend 20-plus years later (Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” excepted, after all). Of particular be aware: the tune options songwriting and manufacturing from Christian Falk, a frequent collaborator of Robyn’s who handed away in 2014.
“Long Gone” (1999)
Effectively the start of Robyn’s label troubles with then–North American residence RCA, the 1999 sophomore effort My Truth had its Stateside launch canceled after she refused to change lyrics speaking about an abortion she’d had. Indeed, as that element and the album title infers, My Truth is a extra private effort than Robyn Is Here, with Robyn notching co-write credit on all 14 tracks; sonically, the file is an element continuation of Robyn Is Here’s R&B-pop palette and half stylistic divergence into extra refined, chillout-inflected territory. “Long Gone” seems on the album’s again half, and it’s a beautiful and soulful ballad showcasing Robyn’s vocal timbre over lush strings and a pared-back acoustic guitar.
“Keep This Fire Burning” (2002)
Upon launch, this 2002 single was Robyn’s greatest hit to this point, lapping “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” seven years earlier — so why is there an honest probability you in all probability haven’t heard it? The reply, once more, lies with label woes; the album it appeared on, that yr’s Don’t Stop the Music, solely noticed launch in Sweden and Japan, regardless of the choice to place out this ace tune and the album’s title observe as a single all through Europe. Both songs are fireplace, however this herky-jerky heater barely edges out “Don’t Stop the Music” by way of high quality; you possibly can hear the DNA of AlunaGeorge’s “You Know You Like It” in Swedish manufacturing staff Ghost’s composition, and the tune later resurfaced in re-recorded kind as a bonus observe on the U.Ok. version of Robyn’s self-titled LP in 2005.
“Handle Me” (2005)
Robyn’s self-titled fourth full-length marked the start of her critically beloved streak that continues to at the present time, highlighting her and her collaborators’ top-notch songwriting and establishing the candy-coated synth-pop sound she’s develop into recognized for since. “Handle Me” is refined in comparison with the bleep-bloop rap cadence of “Konichiwa Bitches” or the towering majesty of “With Every Heartbeat,” centered round ethereal guitar and some stray synth traces — however the kiss-off anthem is full of the kind of tangy perspective that goes neglected when specializing in Robyn’s extra well-known capability for chronicling love and loss. Oddly, the North American launch of the tune censored the half the place Robyn refers to her jilted ex-paramour as a “Nazi creep,” which is the model that’s at present featured on streaming providers as nicely.
“Hang With Me (Acoustic)” (2010)
2010 was a banner yr for Robyn, as she put out a whopping 4 releases over the span of 12 months: three mini-albums within the Body Talk sequence, and a full-length of the identical identify that cherry-picked highlights from that sequence. Gems abound, however one of the crucial fascinating cuts featured on the primary half is an acoustic take of “Hang With Me,” which was later featured in all its artificial glory on the second installment. The stripped-down recording is a reminder of how highly effective Robyn’s voice is — in addition to the emotions she expresses with it — even when divorced from the sound mostly related along with her music.
“Criminal Intent” (2010)
Although Robyn’s Body Talk period is most steadily recognized by its overwhelmingly anthemic and emotional singles, there’s just a few tracks splayed throughout the sequence that stretch her extra playful, humorous, and boisterous aspect —like this Diplo co-production that seems on the second version, that includes Robyn coolly sing-rapping over a dirty-sounding beat studded with zippy synths and a siren or two. Someone alert the authorities!
“Stars Four-Ever” (2010)
There are so many bangers throughout all three volumes of Body Talk that you would virtually throw a dart on the tracklists and hit an authorized basic. “Stars Four-Ever” doesn’t get as a lot love as, say, “Dancing on My Own,” however its beautiful loop-pop building — a perpetual melodic crest crafted by Klas and Jocke Åhlund of Swedish electro-rockers Teddybears — hits as exhausting as Robyn’s greatest songs, a declaration of immortality the glittering night time sky.
“Do It Again” (2014)
Robyn’s collaborated with Swedish dance duo Royksöpp just a few instances throughout her profession: she appeared on the superb “The Girl and the Robot” from Royksöpp’s 2009 LP Junior, they usually contributed the rough-and-tumble manufacturing to her pissed-off Body Talk anthem “None of Dem.” In 2014, the 2 entities teamed up for an EP and subsequent tour; Do It Again options loads of prolonged and simmering synth-jamming, however the title observe is punchy and deliriously catchy, with a again half full of so many sonic doodads that it practically appears like fireworks.
“Love Is Free” [ft. Maluca] (2015)
A yr after the discharge of Do It Again, Robyn teamed up with Falk and keyboardist Markus Jägerstedt as Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique for the Love Is Free EP. Featuring Robyn’s cowl of Arthur Russell’s “Tell You (Today)” that appeared on the tribute album Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell the yr earlier than, Love Is Free is flashy, enjoyable, and indebted to classic NYC membership music — qualities which can be no extra obvious than on the EP’s giddy, Maluca-featuring title observe, accompanied by a colourful and arch video remedy from SSION.
“Trust Me” (2017)
Swedish dance producer Mr. Tophat contributes manufacturing to Honey, so trying out “Trust Me” — in addition to the EP of the identical identify from final yr — is virtually homework forward of the brand new album’s launch, solely far more enjoyable. A 3-track collaboration launched on Norwegian outré label Smalltown Supersound, Trust Me options Robyn and Mr. Tophat going deep into dance music’s darker corners, crafting shadowy grooves that evolve into dark-disco fantasies. The title observe’s percolating beat and refined euphoria stand out, however the entire launch is as straightforward to get misplaced in as any of Robyn’s poppier fare.