Blood Orange – Negro Swan (2018)

Blood Orange - Negro Swan vinyl


Blood Orange – Negro Swan (2018)

“My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color.  A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all.  The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.” – Dev Hynes (Blood Orange)

Negro Swan is the fourth studio album by Blood Orange, an alias of British musician Dev Hynes. It was released on 24 August 2018 by Domino. The album was preceded by the singles “Charcoal Baby” and “Jewelry”.

On 19 July 2018, Hynes shared a teaser video of the album featuring a snippet of new music, before announcing the album and making it available for pre-order later the same day. The cover art features an image of Kai the Black Angel sitting on a car’s front window with a white do-rag on his head and wings clipped to his back. The album was released on 24 August 2018 through Domino.

In a press release, Hynes described the album as “an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color. A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all. The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of hope, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.” The album focuses on these themes heavily in today’s current ideals of gender and sexuality. Honesty is a very powerful tool in the production of the album because it is what bridges the gap between understanding viewpoints of oppressed groups. With songs like “Hope” and “Runnin” masculine influences are brought into analysis in order to create an understanding of how societal forces impact the ideals of sexuality. Each song on the album presses this issue with a mix of soul, R&B, and other genre’s styles in order to convey a story of facing depression.The press release also stated that the album was entirely written and produced by Hynes.

On 23 July, Hynes performed multiple tracks from the album at the Pitchfork Music Festival, including “Nappy Wonder” and “Charcoal Baby”, the latter was released as the first single from the album on 26 July with a music video directed by Crack Stevens. Shortly afterwards, another single titled “Jewelry” was released, accompanied by a music video directed by Hynes, featuring an appearance from Janet Mock.

In promotion of the album, Hynes embarked on a North American and European tour which began on 5 August at the Osheaga Festival and ended on 8 November in Copenhagen.

Tracklist

  1. Orlando
  2. Saint
  3. Take Your Time
  4. Hope (feat. Puff Daddy & TeiShi)
  5. Jewelry
  6. Family (feat. Janet Mock)
  7. Charcoal Baby
  8. Vulture Baby
  9. Chewing Gum (ASAP Rocky & Project Pat)
  10. Holy Will (feat. Ian Isiah)
  11. Dagenham Dream
  12. Nappy Wonder
  13. Runnin’ (feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow)
  14. Out of Your League (feat. Steve Lacy)
  15. Minetta Creek
  16. Smoke

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