In 2008 Robyn was riding high after top ten hits with bittersweet, orchestral-pop hit ‘Be Mine’ and anthemic dance ballad ‘With Every Heartbeat’. The latter song went to No. 1 in the UK, shortly after the album 'Robyn' was nominated for a Grammy. Not only did these feats provide a brilliant backdrop to the platinum selling album from which they sprang, but the success of 'Robyn' was the high point of a comeback which saw the one-time teen popstar reinventing her career on her own terms.
2011 saw the singer release a triple album in three installments the ‘Body Talk’ trilogy, which received three Grammy nominations. 'Body Talk Pt 1' picked up where Robyn left off, with the emphasis on those sweeping, emotional dance tracks and the biting, quirky rap-pop with which she made her name.
The album’s title reflects the singer’s love of dance culture, having spent three years promoting her last album in clubs across the world. It also reflects her personal intrigue with the disconnect between what your body does and what your mind wants.
If 'Body Talk' was dressed up in robots and the mechanical, then Honey is warmer and sweeter, a sensual record about being human that starts from a place of loss and grief, and emerges ecstatically and joyfully into the light. "I danced a lot when I was making it," says Robyn. "I found a sensuality and a softness that I don't think I was able to use in the same way before. Everything just became softer."
Though she has spent the time in between records working almost constantly, curating remixes of her own songs, on side-projects and collaborations with friends (Röyksopp, Kindness, Mr. Tophat and La Bagatelle Magique), this is the first time she’s back as simply Robyn since she finished the long period of touring that followed the huge international success of Body Talk.
Missing U, the first single, is the first song on the album; it’s also the first song she wrote for it. It began as a song about a break-up, pre-empting the end of a long relationship. And then Christian Falk, her friend, collaborator and La Bagatelle Magique bandmate, died, after a short period of illness. "And it became about that instead. He got sick really quickly and it all just happened within six months. I went through this break-up right after, and I was also in therapy. It was kind of a psychedelic time for me. I really felt a little bit crazy," she recalls. Missing U is a song about loss, but it’s a generous song, too, about being grateful for what you were left with when somebody is no longer there.
The songs on 'Honey' came together, loosely, in the order in which they appear on the album, giving a sense of chronology but also emotional expansion and change. Robyn experimented with softer sounds and ideas and brought in Metronomy’s Joseph Mount. She also worked with long-time collaborator Klas Åhlund, Adam Bainbridge (a.k.a. Kindness), Mr. Tophat and Zhala, putting it all together in studios in Stockholm, London, Paris, New York and Ibiza.
Of course 'Honey' was going to be the title track. It’s everything Honey the album has turned out to be. "Honey, to me, was the feeling of sensuality and softness, and all the things I was growing in the studio, like a garden," says Robyn. “This sweet place, like a very soft ecstasy. Something that's so sensual, and so good.”