Rain patters on asphalt, rinsing blood and oil that canvasses the streets into nearby gutters. Hooded individuals crouch in alleys, holding cups with shaky, outstretched hands. You pass them by, and head for a boisterous congregation of people two blocks away. A chorus of singing voices, accompanied by somber piano chords, grows louder as you approach. A woman strides into the center of the crowd, raises her face to the sky, and speaks . . .
Sound is a vessel, a medium through which meaning is dispersed, and one of the most effective methods of influencing change in a world oversaturated with corrupt media. Our world is battered and bruised, infected with rampant violence, institutional racism, and gender inequality. We must listen to the voices that promote unification. Enter Freetown Sound, the newest full-length from Dev Hynes as Blood Orange.
Strung together by powerful spoken word samples ranging from forthright beat poetry to inward contemplation, these seventeen songs unpack a wealth of potent topics — racial injustice, police brutality, female empowerment — and do so via pristine funk/r&b grooves and colorful melodies. Hynes’ soothing baritone is accompanied by a plethora of guests, such as Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Nelly Furtado.
Evocative in similar ways as D’Angelo’s Black Messiah and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, Freetown Sound is a record birthed from the souls of the oppressed, one that calls for drastic shifts in action and thinking alike. We possess the ability to avert ourselves from the dark path our species currently walks, and it starts with us dancing together in unison. If you’re seeking resonant, soulful funk/r&b, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)