- Genre: Alternative
- Date: 27 Jan, 2023
- Content: explicit
- Region: NGA
- Track(s): 11
- ℗ 2023 Grand Jury Music
The album uses expansive soundscapes that have never been heard in her discography but still capture all that Samia’s fans know and love about her. Precocious songwriting and appealing beats that explore varied textures are pierced by personal voicemails and audio clips, creating a sonically rich environment to get lost in.
Honey was recorded at the North Carolina studio Betty’s, run by Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sandborn and Amelia Meath, who also took Samia on tour with them last year. Caleb Wright produced the album along with some of the team behind The Baby. Some of her closest friends and frequent collaborators are included on the album, which probably explains why the compositions that make up the album have a deeply personal origin.
Album Cover Art
Samia tilts her head to stare into the camera as she poses for a shot of her album cover. Appearing innocent and sweet in a dark-blue background, she seems a bit vulnerable with the ability to see through one’s soul with those somber-looking but piercing eyes.
Tracks and Features
The ominous ballad “Kill Her Freak Out,” which served as the album’s lead single, starts “Honey.” The song welcomes us with the sound of an organ, much like “Pool,” the opening single from her debut album. The minimal, synth-driven song is understated and austere, focusing a spotlight on the words themselves. The somewhat unsettling, strikingly gloomy ballad occasionally features chimes to brighten the generally somber music. She confronts an unnamed former lover with sensitivity and agony, flipping through recollections like unpleasant photographs in her mind.
The song “Charm You” is a warm acoustic number with buttery vocals that recounts trying in vain to avoid falling in love. Samia’s voice has a fair amount of distortion, introducing an idea that would be used repeatedly throughout the album. The producer often manipulates soundscapes during the artist’s most vulnerable moments to highlight the track’s emotional content. “Mad at Me” features a sharp change in tempo in the pop beat. An upbeat pop tune with a catchy chorus, jovial auto-tuned vocals, and an electronic drum beat created by producer Rostam. The song’s bridge plays with avoiding emotional reality and is quite catchy. With a contribution from Papa Mbye, this immediately sounds like the summer tune in January.
In “Sea Lions,” a strong sense of love is evident, yet an underlying hatred scorches any remaining feelings of love. The song begins as a simple ballad but develops with a soft pulsation, explodes with an escalating beat midway through, and breaks with a clip of Samia’s voice muted via the radio. The synthetic voice provides a sporadic litany of names, adjectives, nouns, and phrases in a poem-like structure to mimic the flash of memories one would see just before passing away.
Samia’s most honest and potent songwriting is displayed in “Breathing Song.” The song’s theme clearly describes a night out gone bad that ends in a hospital visit and a terrible reality. The song finishes with a pained scream that is abruptly cut off after growing into an increasingly taunting chorus of the phrase “no, no, no.” The album’s title tune, “Honey,” begins with a happy tone before turning out to be a parody. However, Caleb Wright made it into a campfire song. While “To Me It Was” gallops as a charming country-folk ballad steeped in nostalgia and relevancy, “Nanana” is a soothing lullaby.
|Kill Her Freak Out
|Mad At Me
|Samia & papa mbye
|To Me It Was
She offers up herself and a mirror for us to look through in “Honey,” a profoundly complicated album inspired by a period of brutally honest self-reflection during the pandemic. “Honey” is Samia’s most candid body of work to date, exploring topics of identity, religion, substance misuse, relationships, and life and death.
Alli B., Caleb Wright & Rostam produced the album.