Pop music is rarely a solitary activity. As much as the major pop stars would like to have us believe that they are completely self-reliant, every single one of them depends heavily on the talents of others to keep them where they are.
Following a particularly trying year in which her brother died as a result of a horrendous car accident, Katy B is wearing her reliance and need for others on her sleeve, both literally (the album tracklist names every producer as a partner on each song) and metaphorically, as on closing track ‘Honey (Outro)’, which is a clear dedication to her late sibling.
There’s ‘Who Am I’, which focuses on a break-up which results in Katy losing all of her friends, too. ‘Dark Delirium’ finds her on the lookout for a new man to save her from the wrong one. In the hands of Adele or Jessie Ware, this would all be fuel to some low-tempo ballads. In the hands of Katy B – who effectively kicked off the sub-genre of Brit-dance-pop that allowed Disclosure or AlunaGeorge to become so popular – what we get is an album of heartfelt club-bangers.
You’ve already heard 2015’s chart-topper ‘Turn The Music Louder’, with Tinie Tempah replaced entirely by Katy and the production by KDM seemingly far more suitable to her standalone performance without taking away any of the dancefloor-ready vibes. ‘I Wanna Be’ is a hypnotic highlight, the sexual desperation in B’s voice reverberating from every syllable as the house-leaning beats continue to pummel.
Album opener ‘Honey’ with Kaytranda and ‘Calm Down’ with an oddly paired but perfectly pitched Four Tet and Floating Points provide two different perspectives on Katy’s sultry mid-tempo jams, lyrically never explicit but still absolutely dripping with intent.
Not every single track is a home run – ‘Lose Your Head’ features so many other artists that Katy feels like an afterthought on her own song, while the double whammy of Major Lazer and Craig David really should’ve got the BPM higher than ‘Who Am I’ manages to do – but mostly Honey feels like a club-ready mix-tape of all the cutting edge Brit-Hop sounds that other artists are only beginning to delve into properly right now.