Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange project released videos for two new songs, “Charcoal Baby” and “Jewelry,” from his upcoming album Negro Swan, out August 24th via Domino.
On “Charcoal Baby,” Blood Orange captures the vibe of a slick R&B pop song – silky vocals, soaring saxophone – but deftly tweaks the formula with synths and a woozy lead guitar line. Porches’ Aaron Maine co-wrote the track, while EVA provided backing vocals.
“Charcoal Baby” opens with a spoken-word introduction about family and community. The Crack Stevens-directed video perfectly captures the sentiment that being among family is like entering a space where “you don’t have to shrink yourself, where you don’t have to pretend or to perform, you can fully show up and be vulnerable and in silence, completely empty – and that’s completely enough.” The clip is shot in split screen, with each half showing a different family get-together where Blood Orange provides the musical entertainment.
“Jewelry,” meanwhile, is a multi-faceted song that moves from a hazy R&B tune to a stripped-down guitar piece. Hynes croons, “Seek what you need to get by/ Awake with one eye closed/ In dark black clothes/ Red and blue lights on my stone.” Hynes directed the video for “Jewelry,” which stars Janet Mock, Kai the Black Angel and Ian Isiah.
Negro Swan follows Blood Orange’s 2016 album Freetown Sound. In a statement, Hynes said the new LP “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.”
Blood Orange will embark on a North American tour in support of Negro Swan August 5th in Montreal, Quebec.