Honey – Katy B (2016)

 

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“Honey” is the third studio album released by London Born British Singer/Songwriter Katy B.

I like Katy B and loved her debut album “On A Mission” which captured a real British and London sound. Unlike contemporaries like Jessie J on that debut album she did not compromise any of the aspects of her music to simply chase a pop hit.

The notoriously difficult second album “Little Red” did perhaps fall into that problem and for me Katy B lost a little direction about the sort of artist she wanted to be.

But can this album “Honey” see this lady from Peckham bring it back on track?

The first track “Honey” is a down tempo R&B number which perhaps isn’t the greatest opener to an album you could hear – not because it isn’t a good track (it is) but there is little to distinguish herself from any other female R&B singer. I am impressed with the production on this track as it keeps a groove going though perhaps suffers from a lack of originality.

The second track is a duet with the ever brilliant Craig David. There has been a resurgence in the musical output from David in 2016 and I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that he would team up with one of the best R&B female artists in the UK.

“Who Am I” is a little generic and certainly lyrically it has very little to offer. I like the vocal from Katy B who reaches into her upper levels but doesn’t seem to be over stretching which is a problem I have noticed with her when she performs live.

The chemistry that should be there between Katy and Craig doesn’t really shine through as both artists get lost in a pretty mundane and boring track.

UK producer Wilkinson features on the next track and as expected it is very upbeat with a drum and bass tune driving it’s way through the track. The piano rift adds that 90’s feel to the track which is in fashion at the moment.

Katy B works well on dance tracks. Maybe this is her downfall as dance tracks are often difficult for the mainstream to take as serious art forms which I think is snobbish and incorrect.

But I look it like this – if you are getting played on British radio stations such as Captial Fm or Radio 1 BUT are still getting played on MOR stations like Heart or Magic then you are going to transfer out to a much bigger audience. Whilst this might be the goal for some singers the fact is their music lacks edge and Katy B is still holding on to hers.

“So Far Away” is a real winner for me and everything Wilkinson has had a hand in thus far has worked.

Track 4 is “Chase Me” which features guest vocals from Sasha Keable who appeared on track with Disclosure from their debut album “Settle” on the song “Voices”. Again I love the vibe on the song and the production is solid but the song is just not that interesting.

The last 30 seconds of the track I enjoy as it is just allowed to simmer and we can really focus in on some cool production.

“Lose Your Head” is yet another collaboration this time with with The Heavy Trackers, J Hus and D Double E.

This is one of those songs that half way through I just seemed to sigh at. Katy B is a guest on her own song and this is fucking horrendous. It’s one of those tracks that could be used a form of torture. I had to take two stabs at listening to the song as I stopped it after 90 seconds as my ears had begun to bleed.

“I Wanna Be” eases the pain of “Lose Your Head” somewhat. It’s this post club type of vibe which extenuates the soft voice Katy B has. Her vocal express a very direct style and whilst she isn’t the most powerful of vocalist when she uses the voice in a subtle way like on this track it is really impressive.

“Calm Down” starts off well. This quirky street sounding beat perks the interest but after a couple of minutes the song just goes nowhere. The subtleness in her voice has now just turned to disinterest. I’m not convinced that she is even enjoying singing over this song and a chorus akin to the dreadful “Work” by Rihanna in which Katy is just saying “Down” over and over again makes me lose interest.

“Heavy” is the title of track 8 which and it is a title which suggest that we are going to get a big tune. The track starts off with some minimum synth sounds which Katy B sings over.

As I sit her waiting for the track to burst into life I realise after 1 minute 30 seconds that it isn’t going to and like so many tracks on this set they are so uninteresting.

“Turn The Music Louder” is track 9. This song was released under the DJ/Producers KDA. The main guest on the song is Tinie Tempah with Katy B providing vocals on the chorus.

Without a doubt this is the best track on the album but this was meant to be a Katy B album. She didn’t require being a guest on her own album with her debut and I am confused to why she feels she needed to do that now.

As for this song – it’s great. Its a party anthem that I am sure you will be dancing to in clubs during the summer.

“Dark Delrium” on it’s own merit is a nice track. If i’d heard this in the build up to the album I would have thought we are in for a solid set. Whilst nothing remarkable it’s a nice dance number with some more interesting string arrangements used in it’s production.

“Winter Rising” is track 11. <sigh>. It’s got to be better than this is she wishes to capture anyone’s imagination. Generic, boring and pointless.

“Dreamers” is better and one of the better tracks. It has different elements to it which allows it to become more than just a standered dance track. Maybe all the boring crap on the set makes this sound better than it actually does but even in isolation I think i’d enjoy the track. Lyrically this track like every song on the album offers very little.

The final track is “Honey Outro” which goes on for 4:16. The lyrics seem a little more person on this track where Katy is almost spitting over this beatless tune as just  guitar strums. This is a pretty tune and there is bit more connection to the listener. The song features a verse from Grime MC Novelist. It adds further connectivity to the song and the atmosphere created on this track whilst sombre is probably the most creative thing we have heard on here.

 

“Honey” isn’t going to give Katy B any big hits nor is it going to cement her place as the UK’s top R&B/Dance singer. The songwriting is generic, the production whilst crisp has no edge to it and the songs overall are boring.

A difficult listen and extremely disappointing.

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