These ladies have it all on new releases
Robyn — ‘Honey’
THE GOOD: Swedish singer-songwriter and electronic chameleon Robyn comes back with her sixth album (the first in a LONG eight years).
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: She was strictly pop in the ’90s and early 2000s. However, Robyn discovered just being herself was better sometime around 2004. Since then, the singer’s music has transcended genres and smashed all expectations. If “Body Talk” brought us all to the party, “Honey” is a more intimate look at its flamboyant host.
The beats are softer (but not weak), and the basslines and keyboard melodies dreamier. Robyn went through some personal turmoil over the past several years (a close friend died, and a long-term relationship ended before eventual reconciliation), and she threw all that pain into the music. So while “Honey” can set any late-night dance floor ablaze, it has plenty of substance as well.
Whether it’s the slow build and burn of “Missing U,” the liquid rhythms carrying the day-glo title cut or Deee-Liteful ’90s throwback “Between the Lines,” “Honey” was worth the wait.
BUY IT?: Yes.
Elle King — ‘Shake the Spirit’
THE GOOD: Singer Elle King dodges the sophomore slump on “Shake the Spirit.”
THE BAD: There are some lesser moments but no outright disasters. The record seems a little scattershot, but King’s voice and style shine in most settings.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Since King broke big with “Ex’s & Oh’s” four years ago, she’s experienced more than a few emotional ups and downs (sudden fame, marriage, divorce, etc.). “Spirit” finds the singer tossing all those emotions into the work. There are breakup songs, moments of both genuine depression and pure elation, and times when the singer simply is getting drunk.
King always has melded different sounds and genres together, and that’s certainly the case on “Spirit,” another indie, R&B, country and rock mish-mash. The brash “Baby Outlaw” echoes old spaghetti western soundtracks. “Runaway” glides on cool, pre-Beatles vibes. The super-infectious “It Girl” wallows in naughty high school drama. The gospel-tinged “Little Bit of Lovin’” brings it all to an inspirational close.
BUY IT?: Yes.
Lydmor — ‘I Told You I’d Tell Them Our Story’
THE GOOD: Danish electronic singer/songwriter/producer Lydmor (born Jenny Rossander) returns with an otherworldly epic.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Inspired by time spent in Shanghai with friends a couple of years back, “Our Story” finds the singer embracing club culture and experiences beyond her Copenhagen home. In press materials, Lydmor explained, “Considering I make electronic music, it’s quite a paradox that I have never been clubbing before I went to Shanghai.” Those nights spent dancing definitely affected the sound of “Our Story,” a much more direct and fierce collection than past efforts.
However, the album isn’t just a night at a rave. It also works amazingly well as an electronic pop collection, echoing recent works by Chvrches, Purity Ring, Grimes and even some semi-vintage Imogen Heap. Sure, multi-layered rhythms carry the banging tracks, but at their core, songs such as “Money Towers” and “Nostalgia” are pop tunes, and damn fine ones, too. Lydmor’s merging of these two aesthetics simply clicks.
BUY IT?: Definitely.