Negro Swan is all about forging on when you don’t feel like you belong. But don’t expect to feel like an outsider, Blood Orange’s 4th LP is as immersive as it is powerful. Dev Hynes released Negro Swan through Domino Records with help from A$AP Rocky, Steve Lacy, P-Diddy, and trans activist Janet Mock.
The journey that is Negro Swan is eclectic. We travel through 80’s R&B funk through the use of jazz piano, saxophone, synths, and unstructured guitar. At no point in the 49 minutes does it feel disjointed. Hynes does an excellent job transitioning themes and uses Janet Mock’s narration to guide the narrative. On “Jewelry,” Mock talks about unwelcoming spaces and “Family” portrays an oasis of acceptance and vulnerability.
Lethargic lyrics, spoken word, and rap find a similar haven in the beauty of Negro Swan. Hynes embraces an intimacy with listeners and explores the struggles of growing up black and bullied, and the anxiety attached to that. When Hynes opens up, he projects into the collective brain of the audience. Whatever fears, anxieties, and jitters listeners may feel, they can find solace in the sound.
This haunting 16 song album debuted on August 24th. Blood Orange is currently touring the US and will end his European loop this November.
Recommended If You Like: Perfume Genius, Kelela, Washed Out, Solange
Recommended Tracks: Charcoal Baby, Out Of Your League, Hope, Saint
Do Not Play: Chewing Gum, Smoke, Jewelry
Written by Miranda Roberts on 09/01/2018