Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
"I had a lot of fun making this album", says DevHynes on his blog, "so I hope you have a lot of fun listening". Cupid Deluxe, Hynes' latest offering under the Blood Orange, comes after a year of production for SkyFerriera and Solange, among others. One definitely gets the feeling that Hynes enjoyed making this album: the fluttering, slinky production and R&B influenced vocals are energetic and passionate, and there are plenty of duets and features.
Cupid Deluxe begins with its two excellent singles, "Chamakay" and "You're Not Good Enough" back to back, giving the album a ton of momentum right off the bat. With this in mind, it’s a feat that this album is so well-paced: there is a diversity of moods and voices represented, all of which inform and enforce each other. Cupid Deluxe is an excellent album, one that whole-heartedly invites you into its glowing, emotional world.
One of the album's best qualities is its ability to sound universal and local at the same time. Much of this album revolves around the topic of heartbreak, and halfway through Hynes has already detailed about a dozen shades ofit, from the rationalizing introspection of "Chamakay", to the angry defiance of "You’re Never Good Enough". He sings about an event that is cataclysmic but silent, world shattering but incredibly personal.
"Always Let U Down", a cover of little-known English rock band Mansun's cheesy hit single, perhaps best exemplifies this duality. At the end of the song, a chorus of "I can only disappoint you, because I always let you down" is repeated until it becomes anthemic, something to sing along to until you realize the emotional weight of the phrase, and then start singing louder.
Cupid Deluxe is an incredibly cohesive album, and, accordingly, it sounds best when consumed as a whole.This is partially due to the well-defined "cast" of instruments that populate the album. The sleek saxophone that shows up on "Chamakay" and "Chosen", thexylophone, and that glowing synth pad that appears on pretty much ever track give the songs a feeling of being variations on a theme, sharing emotions and phrases with each other. "Uncle Ace" borrows the chorus chords of "Chamakay"; "Time Will Tell" is basically a reprise of "It Is What It Is".
Cupid Deluxe is an album of brilliant pop songcraftthat isn"t afraid of being sincere. It is thorough in its examination of emotions that are experienced by everyone, but remain unique and personal. Dev Hynes perhaps understands the space between universal and individual better than anyone else in music right now.