16 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Speaking to The Guardian, British singer-songwriter-producer Dev Hynes described his fourth LP under the Blood Orange name 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.” Recorded on-the-go in studios around the world (Tokyo, Florence, Copenhagen) with whatever was lying around at the time (“If I go to a studio and they only have an acoustic guitar, then I’ll go with that.”), Negro Swan splices Hynes’ impressionistic R&B with recorded conversation and spoken word, the most haunting snippets taken from writer and transgender-rights activist Janet Mock (“Family”) and a surprisingly vulnerable Puff Daddy (“Hope”). The result is dreamy but incisive, melancholic but alive, lonesome but communal. “When you wake up/It’s not the first thing you wanna know,” he sings on “Charcoal Baby,” a highlight. “Can you still count/All the reasons that you’re not alone?”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Speaking to The Guardian, British singer-songwriter-producer Dev Hynes described his fourth LP under the Blood Orange name 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.” Recorded on-the-go in studios around the world (Tokyo, Florence, Copenhagen) with whatever was lying around at the time (“If I go to a studio and they only have an acoustic guitar, then I’ll go with that.”), Negro Swan splices Hynes’ impressionistic R&B with recorded conversation and spoken word, the most haunting snippets taken from writer and transgender-rights activist Janet Mock (“Family”) and a surprisingly vulnerable Puff Daddy (“Hope”). The result is dreamy but incisive, melancholic but alive, lonesome but communal. “When you wake up/It’s not the first thing you wanna know,” he sings on “Charcoal Baby,” a highlight. “Can you still count/All the reasons that you’re not alone?”

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