Cupid Deluxe Album Review
Released November 18,2013
Genre: New Wave, Funk, Indie Pop, Alternative R&B
Is nostalgia cool again? Did it ever stop being cool? These are the questions that catapult through the peripheries of my mind as I venture the vacuous void that is my Twitter timeline. With the sudden resurgence of vinyl sales and Buzzfeed’s incessant capitalisation on the internet’s captivation with remembering things that may or may not have existed in the 90s, it implores frustration to exactly what it is that makes looking back so much more invigorating than what’s happening right now. Can’t there be a way to combine elements of the past and the present without having to expose myself to another recycled cat gif? Glad you brought this to attention you rhetorical question asker because Mr. Devonte Hynes a.k.a Blood Orange has crafted his sophomore LP, Cupid Deluxe, with that in mind.
Making a name himself within the parameters of songwriting and production spots, Devonte Hynes has been navigating the claymores of the spotlight for years now. Starring under such pseudonyms as Lightspeed Champion and his brief career as one third of the band Test Icicles. With each endeavour, a contrasting creative approach was taken; the reason Hynes’ expansive aural palette makes him such a production force to be reckoned with, juxtaposing his timid and docile temperament.
Cupid Deluxe showcases Devonte as a cunning maverick of genre. Tracks that transcend between elements of funk, pop, dub, spoken word poetry and hip-hop, this record breaches every corner of the musical spectrum and with a necessary motive since Blood Orange’s debut release, Coastal Grooves, didn’t seem to make any waves. What makes Cupid Deluxe such a grasping first listen is the stylistic conviction and grace that Devonte has adhered to. As the first single to drop “You’re Not Good Enough” gets the room groovin’ with it’s slap bass rhythms and scat guitar stabs. As a masterhead single, it encapsulated a philosophy that Blood Orange seems to intertwine himself around; great hooks make great songs. Although occasionally guilty of forcing this mantra, check out “No Right Thing” for instance. Devonte seems to have an insatiable hunger for catchy lines and spreading soil for ear worms; the mark of a proficient songwriter in my opinion.
Similarly on “Uncle Ace” spurts of 80s bass tones and flickering guitar licks accompany the flange dowsed guitars sounding not dissimilar to a Stone Roses breakdown. Whereas on cuts where Blood Orange digs into the realm of hip-hop such as the track “High Street” with a lacklustre feature performance from long-time-no-see grime kingpin Skepta breathes little life into the whole ensemble. Cupid Deluxe falls short in it’s occasional contextual inhibitions. Blood Orange seems to avoid deviating from any topic beyond the classic and rehashed romance shtick which is profoundly perplexing since his instrumentation and arrangement chops on this album are so illustrious and enrapturing.
Somewhere between the formulaic construction of John Newman or Sam Smith and the history carving sensibilities of Prince or MJ, Blood Orange has shown that a timid soul can often produce some of the most ambitious music of the year. Cupid Deluxe cannot be denied heart, a listening experience defined by it’s creator, someone who has explored the recesses of time and treasured those aspects which encapsulate an era. It’s no Thriller, but it has more to it than filler.
FAV TRACKS: You’re Not Good Enough/ Uncle Ace / Chosen
LEAST FAV TRACK: High Street
Will Butler is second year University student from the UK and radio show presenter for the local station. He found the PNG guys through Reddit and is looking forward to working with them to cover the best the music scene has to offer, on both sides of the pond! Keep it Neat!
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