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“Honeybee” by Adrift: Effervescent Cool

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Honeybees have swagger. That is an indisputable fact from any human who has seen a honeybee in action. My father is a beekeeper, and as a child I often sat in the grass and admired how these strange insects flew in lazy loops through the clover. There’s a thrumming playfulness and a careless confidence to the bees as they dip between petals and suck nectar from the garden. They may be “worker bees,” that work as part of a hive mind, but they move like they’re enjoying the ride. They move like someone just gave them a compliment. They move like they are constantly listening to music that boosts their energy. And listen: if these groovy creatures could wear earbuds—stay with me—I know for a fact that they would listen to Adrift’s new song “Honeybee.”

Adrift self-describes their work as “music for daydreamers.”  That ambient influence is clear in the heavy synthesizers, the psychedelic beat, and the muffled vocals. The opening synthesizers offer a nearly whispery effect, a sound reminiscent of rushing wings and an impatient breeze. The song forms around that center, filling out with rhythmic vocal tracks, collaborative drums, and a bouncing bass. Adrift employs a low, cloudy set of vocals throughout; these vocals turn in on themselves and break into smaller parts that are integrated into the rhythm of the piece, so that the song builds on itself as it goes along. You can’t help but bob your head as you listen. Adrift’s “Honeybee” captures the bumbling, unbothered energy that the creatures themselves seem to move with, while also offering a driving, intentional structure that directs this energy into something complete.

The song is contagiously catchy, despite having a somewhat non-traditional structure. The basic elements of a song all seem to be there: I flagged multiple verses, a chorus, and something that resembles an instrumental bridge (toward the end of the song, the soundscape dips into a muffled break before returning for another chorus). But each section blends into the next with such seamless intimacy that the song essentially functions like one long, extended bridge. Although there are verses, the only lyric I could consistently understand was the repeating phrase in the chorus: “Just a honeybee.” 

To be clear, the vocal muffling isn’t necessarily a problem. Adrift demonstrates a superb commitment to a very specific energy and sonic atmosphere in the track. I suspect that by employing clearer vocals, the band might actually detract from the electric, hazy vibe of the piece. Still, with that being said, I’m super curious about what the rest of the lyrics were. For now, I’m happy to just imagine that the whole song is an inner-monologue of a happy bumblebee. 

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