Artist to Watch – Blood Orange

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Many of us are told as young children to try everything at least once. Though it usually pertains to the various forms of vegetables we dislike in our youth, it is a good philosophy to hold on to throughout our entire lives. Not only does such a philosophy allow us to decipher between what we like and dislike, but it also adds to the diversity of our minds.

It seems as though this philosophy is engraved in the mind of New York-based musician Devonté Hynes. The twenty-seven-year-old singer, songwriter, composer, producer, and author (I hope I’m not forgetting anything) is multifarious in his creativity, to say the least. His musical journey of a career has taken him from punk (Test Icicles), to indie folk rock (Lightspeed Champion), to electro funk and soul (Blood Orange). Hynes experiments further into the world of electronica with the upcoming release of his new album Cupid Deluxe.

Blood Orange Fuses Jazz-Funk with Electronica on ‘Cupid Deluxe’

Two years since the first Blood Orange album, Coastal Grooves (2011), Hynes now creates a more nostalgic, yet post-modern sound on Cupid Deluxe. Its jazzy lounge vibe is blatantly contrasted by an electric-disco feel; an example of the obscure collaboration of styles that has ultimately defined Hynes to this point in his career. Certain tracks on the album possess a late 80’s/early 90’s Motown sound, similar to that of Lionel Richie, while others are defined by their aggressively funky hip-hop vibe. As a whole, Cupid Deluxe showcases Hynes’ ability to create a meaningful dance album through the combination of various music genres, all the while maintaining a predominantly electronica sound.

One of the most polished tracks on the album is the addictively melodic “You’re Not Good Enough.” Its soft pop feel is disguised by its overly funky presence of drum and bass. The extremely catchy chorus is difficult to forget, and fun to sing despite its romantically pessimistic lyricism; Hynes and his female counterpart wale simultaneously, “I never was in love, you know that you were never good enough,” over the tracks synth-infused instrumentation. The songs dance-pop qualities are continued on following tracks like “Uncle Ace” and “No Right Thing.”

As the album continues, Hynes’ electro-pop sound transitions itself into a futuristic form of jazz-fusion and soul. “Chosen” is the best example of this, as it begins with a jazzy sax intro, before gradually transforming into a hand-clapping soul ballad. Hynes harmonizes, “Face to the ground, change the sound /time in your mind, make it right,” as the bass is slapped in an irrepressibly smooth fashion. Blood Orange diversifies the album even further through his inclusion of R&B and hip-hop in the songs “Clipped Up” and “High Street,” before rounding things out with the albums closing track “Time Will Tell”; an ’80s sounding dance-ballad characterized by its head-nod worthy drum track and clamorously persistent piano.

Cupid Deluxe sees Blood Orange’s music experimenting further with a mélange of musical sounds and styles, polishing Hynes’ ability to create unique music with familiar characteristics. Through his creativity and originality, Dev Hynes continues to turn heads and please ears regardless of what name he performs under.

Cupid Deluxe dropped on November 18th, and it’s a must-hear for fans of dance-pop and new wave. Be sure to check out Blood Orange’s Rukkus page for more information on the album and upcoming tour dates.

Article by Adam Lalama

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