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HONNE’s new album: Leaving the singles bopping and crying

| Monday, November 8, 2021

Claire Reid | The Observer

In late October, British electropop duo Andy Clutterbuck (singer, producer) and James Hatcher (producer) of HONNE, released their latest album, “LET’S JUST SAY THE WORLD ENDED A WEEK FROM NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?” Following the mid-pandemic release of “no song without you,” this album feels like a lighter, more optimistic companion piece. In an interview with Gadhouse, Hatcher shared that “the album has a bit more of a brightness to it and an upbeat feel.”

Starting off the album with a track called “IDGAF ABOUT PAIN,” listeners enter into a chipper “dream space” complete with a whistling beat. The song explores the idea that in relationships, pain will always play its part, but the pain does not take away from the experience of love.

The album’s third track, “WHAT WOULD YOU DO” feat. Pink Sweat$ (David Bowden), which was released as a single over the summer, is a great foray into the album. Bowden’s soulful, smooth voice paired with the song’s darker vocals and mood strike an interesting contrast. In the chorus, Clutterbuck sings: “With nothing left to lose, nothing left to prove / Are you gonna tell the truth? Ooh / What would you do?” Reminiscent of HONNE’s “smile more smile more” from the previously-released “no song without you,” this song can be considered a call to action.

The songs “DANCING ON A CLOUD” and “BACK ON TOP” (feat. Griff) have a bright feel. Both discuss being in love; apparently, this can mean feeling “high” or on “Cloud 9” or can even manifest itself “in sunshine when you’re next to me.” Despite their similar subject matter, the songs don’t feel repetitive. “DANCING ON A CLOUD” has a lo-fi feel, while “BACK ON TOP” is more anthemic.

“NOW I’M ALONE” (feat. Sofía Valdés) is by far the shining star of this album. Not only is it the album’s best song lyrically, but it has an interesting narrative that explores infidelity and guilt. Valdés opens the track by describing her reaction to encountering a lover with another woman. “Your Mercedes smells like salt and weed,” she sings, “so I taste the ocean when you leave,” adding that she “broke down and raided half the fridge/When [she] found her stuck between your lips.” The song has a reflective tone that contrasts the aforementioned love songs about contentment in a relationship.

The second-to-last song, “I’M THE LUCKY ONE,” is a sentimental piece that is especially personal to lead singer Clutterbuck, as it includes audio from his wedding speech. Simultaneously romantic and funky, the song captures the joys of finding a soulmate, as expressed in the chorus: “I get to kiss you every night and day / I’m the lucky one.”

The final track, “HEARTSONG,” is a feel-good, heartfelt pop song. In the verses, the speaker compares himself to a “butterfly in the wind,” to a “gymnast on a rope” and to a “raindrop on a leaf”— all of this is to say that he is beautiful, but he is delicate and fragile. The bridge is a desperate plea for his partner to not let him go.

Although the album is romantic, this song, along with “IDGAF ABOUT PAIN,” is a perfect example of how even in healthy relationships, there will still be hardships and anxiety. It is clear, however, that the members of HONNE are not taking their loved ones for granted. They want us listeners to do the same. 

While some songs on the album are more forgettable than others— “THREE STRIKES” feat. Khalid or “EASY ON ME,” to name a couple— the overall project was excellently crafted and impactful. It will leave “single” listeners bopping and crying.

Album: “LET’S JUST SAY THE WORLD ENDED A WEEK FROM NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?”

Artist: HONNE

Label: Atlantic Records

If you like: BEKA, Griff, JONES

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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