When I was working on building Take Over the Night, Dev Hynes was one of the first artists that came to my mind. I kept listening to his latest, Negro Swan, all the time back then and I really wanted to include one song to the list from the album. It turns out the whole album story was inspired by Hynes' past traumas, give ups and disappointments as a young kid living in Essex, UK.
"I hated every living moment." he opened up to New York Times.
In 2011, he told The Guardians that he had a childhood with full of insecurities, physical and mental fights.
You can feel it beneath the surface of the Negro Swan. His artistic language does not allow the words to be overstated but still makes it even louder somehow. Not vulgar, not deferent; just urban.
However, after a while listening to Negro Swan, it didn't feel like any of the tracks belongs to the playlist. It is not that it is a bad album or not that I felt something negative about it. On the contrary, it was one of the most beautiful works I have ever heard, still is. But it is just, as I kept listening, Negro Swan became so much darker, more delicate and more gentle than I thought in the first place. I was looking for something aggressive and I didn't want to confuse the list. So I started to dive deeper in his discography.
His first album, Coastal Grooves, was criticized for being raw and repeating itself. If you ask me, it was not a bad album. Yes, there were technical shortcomings and also the creativity was considerably limited compared to the later works of the artist, but it was the first step of his musical journey and ongoing quest. It deserves so much more than being automatically rejected. I love Coastal Grooves, it sounds intimate and honest to me. I have a lot of favorites from the album. I'm Sorry We Lied, Can We Go Inside Now, Complete Failure and all. It contains really intense tracks. Give it a shot.
After the Coastal Grooves, we knew he had to change something, at least it was not too hard to predict that the following album would be more experimental. Dev Hynes did way more than we expected; he appeared as a progressive genius in Cupid Deluxe. His fully-developed madness could not be hidden between the notes anymore. Cupid Deluxe is not an album that the standard R&B audience can easily embrace. It is far from mediocrity and does not sound familiar in any way. It is an extraordinarily unique project, not only in the R&B and hip hop environment, but also in his own discography. I found the one and only High Street from this second album. His musical creativity amazed me over and over again in that one. It's all about simplicity.
Hynes' intro, the dark beat and Skepta's verses give that aggression I have been expecting.
Single mom struggling with the push chair?
She had a bad mouth but she had good hair
Stole a phone in the shop getting looked at
Barbershop, hairline's getting pushed back
Guys looking at me like they wanna fight me
Just another day on the high street..."
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About The Curator - Mert Turan
I was born on the day "Evil Empire" album by Rage Against the Machine was released and I brought those lucky bastards 3 Grammy nominations. I live in Ankara, Turkey and study Philosophy at Middle East Technical University. I have worked professionally in the music industry for more than 4 years, specializing in studio recording, sound editing and mixing. I previously worked for musicto both as an intern and a curator. During my internship with musicto I gained valuable experience on the music business, social media and community management. I love being a part of this community.