Blood orange is back and juicer than ever with his third album, Freetown Sound. Also known as Devonte Hynes, this UK artist is no rookie to the music scene, as he has written music for FKA Twigs, Florence and the Machine, and Carly Rae Jepsen. This luxurious 17-track album stays true to his R&B/electronica sound, but has a sort of elevated intensity and purpose that shines through more so than in his previous albums, Cupid Deluxe and Coastal Grooves. Featuring eleven other female artists, from newcomer Lorely Rodriguez, front woman of Empress Of, to the iconic Debbie Harry of Blondie, the belting female vocalists allude to an overarching theme of womanly power and the pursuit of intersectional feminism- just one of many themes in Hyne’s work.
Taking cues from 70’s jazz riffs, 80’s synth pop, Freetown Sound is complex, and requires multiple listens, as Hynes employs a wide array of instrumentation to produce such a big wall of sound that completely engulfs the listener. Once you’re settled into it, you can fully grasp the pure emotions expressed through the drawn out chords in his stunning ballads.
"Augustine": deeper than just a dreamy dance track—yes the smooth synth and pulsing beat makes you unknowingly bob your head, but solemn in it’s content, as Hynes sings about the attacks on the black youth, specifically referencing Trayvon Martin, “Tell me, did you lose your son? / Tell me, would you lose your love? / Cry and birth my deafness/ While Trayvon falls asleep”
"Desiree": funk, and lots of it, this track is uplifting and has a warm n’ fuzzy beat that will undoubtedly make you feel good. This track features a sample from the film, Paris Is Burning as the main character in the film, Xtravaganza, discusses how she has to resort to prostitution in order to get what she wants from her husband- a new washer and dryer. A comical, and convoluted message, but all in all a really good tune.
The album doubles as either a poignant listening experience (once one focuses on the lyrical content) or an easygoing dance album, showcasing Hyne’s astounding ability to his craft.