Eight years after Body Talk, the Swedish dance-pop star’s new album doesn’t so much represent a shift in direction as a deceleration. On Honey, there’s plenty of the ’80s-ish electropop Robyn left off with on Body Talk, especially on the thumping “Missing U” and the minimal “Human Being” and “Between the Lines.” There’s also a lot that’s surprisingly half-baked, given Honey’s lengthy incubation period: the (aptly tropical) “Beach 2K20” feels like a first draft, and “Baby Forgive Me” sounds like an anthem waiting to be animated. “Ever Again” closes on a satisfying R&B note; there’s even a vocal hook. But the overall effect is of the dance floor queen lounging at home—the album title comes off less like a reference to pure sweet energy and more like the term of domesticated endearment.
MihTy, Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign
Jeremih and Ty Dolla $ign are a couple of the better dirty R&B singer/rappers to emerge in recent years, so a collaboration sounds pretty great—and MIH-TY has a lot going for it, despite the forced, terrible title. Jeremih’s upper register and Ty’s midrange cover a lot of bedroom seduction modes, and that’s what MIH-TY is about, exclusively. Their stated aim was to make an album that “soaks up the sheets for the ladies” but that “fellas [can] ride to.” But while the grooves and vocal hooks are indeed slinky, delicate, and alluring, the entreaties are so crude it’s obvious Jeremih and Ty are more concerned with impressing the fellas. Still, they croon with such conviction they truly seem to believe that the refrain “I’m fucking you tonight” is a Leonard Cohen-quality come-on. Kids these days.
Charlottesville’s Breakers dial back the artier tendencies of In Search of An Exit, the band’s 2017 full-length, and knock out a dozen stompers reminiscent of a certain New York band from those halcyon “new garage” days. Rewrite, indeed—an alternate title coulda been Is This It, Again. Main Breaker Lucas Brown’s voice trades a bit of Julian Casablancas’ untouchable cool for some depth and power, and he shares the Strokes frontman’s melodic gifts. The album has modern rock sonic muscle to spare, and Breakers is a formidable unit, as locals can find out when the band plays the Southern on November 8.
Young & Dangerous (Interscope)
Another throwback comes from Derbyshire, England, and it is odious. If your band is called The Struts and your album is called Young & Dangerous, you better be transcendent (see the Stones) or hilarious (see the Darkness), but what we’ve got here is a soul-killing paint-by-numbers pastiche of “real rock”—the sort already barfed up by revolting posers (see Jet).
Tell No One (Don Giovanni)
Descriptions of D.C.’s Bad Moves scan like insults, but in their case it’s all in the caveats. Yup, Bad Moves’ power pop edges towards pop punk, but it’s stripped-down and devoid of whining. And while Tell No One is relentlessly positive, full of up-with-people-sounding broadsides, it avoids facile sloganeering and mawkishness. Two guitars, bass, and drums kick out tight jams, and all four members sing, often at the same time, to adorable, sometimes exhilarating effect. If it sounds like Bad Moves would make great cartoon characters, well, they already have, making a cameo on Cartoon Network’s “Craig From the Creek” as a neighborhood garage band triumphing over grumpy-neighbor adversity. Kinda perfect.