Katy B Honey Virgin EMI
Kathleen Brien, known to us all as Katy B, skyrocketed to the top of the pop charts in 2011 on the back of her accessible dance tracks that glided through dubstep, house, RnB, and garage with ease. Her lilting London accent, down-to-earth nature and her roots in the underground pirate radio scene made her a likeable crossover star.
For her third album Honey, she’s enlisted an all-star cast of producers and guest vocalists that ranges from Wilkinson, Craig David, Major Lazer, and Jamie Jones alongside more leftfield collaborators such as MssingNo, Kaytranada and weightless grime producer Mr. Mitch.
The album is cozy in its many niches at best, but scattered at worst. While Katy’s 2011 debut On a Mission broke through because of its seemingly effortless journey through genre, Honey suffers from the tug-of-war between staying true to her passion for the underground scene, and maintaining commercial relevance. On a Mission made the underground accessible; but Honey seems to have tried too hard.
That said, the album does succeed in showcasing Katy B as a versatile vocalist. I Wanna Be with Chris Lorenzo sees her return to radio-friendly house; Lose Your Head spaces out high energy grime verses with her hypnotic hook and Calm Down with Four Tet and Floating Points sees the singer’s RnB licks paired with a left-field maybe-garage-but-maybe-not production.
Charmingly, the tracks on Honey feel like love songs to the music that influenced and shaped Katy B’s output. Championing a cast of collaborators who are brought to the forefront as co-writers rather than “just” producers, the album celebrates the scene that raised her. As she sings in the album’s outro: “All I have is London streets/ All I have is rhymes and beats.”