Top Pick: Robyn | Honey
Life turns a lot of folks hard and bitter. It does not make most people soft and sweet. Good thing Robyn is not like most people. In the eight years since her last album Body Talk, the Swedish pop futurist has reportedly experienced her fair share of personal losses and emotional crises. But she has not let it ruin her mood, her muse or her music. Which is not to suggest her mainly self-produced eighth album Honey is some sort of elaborate exercise in extroverted enthusiasm as a means of willing yourself into happiness. Not by a long shot. From its muffled beats and rounded synth tones to her hushed vocals and personal lyrics of loneliness and remorse, this is her softest, quietest and most intimate album yet. This is not the sort of dance music you blast at full volume as you sweat in the middle of a giant crowd illuminated by flashing lights; this is the music you move to alone in the darkness of your room on a rainy, sad night. Because of that restrained intensity, it is in many ways her most powerful work, giving her the space to lay her heart bare on the dance floor and heal herself through her calm hypnotic grooves and subtle melodies. And when she is not asking forgiveness or mourning a loved one’s absence, she is slowly putting the pieces back together, making plans, finding connections and moving forward toward a new beach, a new party, a new relationship, a new life. How sweet it is.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order)
• Christine and the Queens | Chris
• Confidence Man | Confident Music For Confident People
• Mitski | Be the Cowboy
• Janelle Monáe | Dirty Computer
• Santigold | I Don’t Want | The Gold Fire Sessions
• Skeewiff | Put Your Hands Together
• Sofi Tukker | Treehouse
** NOTE: Because Tinnitist has only been around since mid-September, this list features albums released and reviewed since then — along with whatever else I heard and remembered from the rest of the year. If you can’t find a review by clicking on the entry or searching the site — or you spot an obvious oversight in this list — the album you’re looking for probably came out too early for me to review it. Or I just didn’t have time. Either way, my bad.