Saturday Night Live/NBCUniversal
For some of us, 2015 was a year of fulfillment, consistency and hope. For the rest, it served unpredictable dishes with sides of indifferent mediocrity, crushing despair and lukewarm-bordering-on-cold broccoli. That’s not to say that lukewarm-bordering-on-cold broccoli is necessarily bad, but it definitely could’ve been better.
No matter the feeling of leaving 2015 in the cracked rear view, a new calendar is upon us. With it comes so many more opportunities for change, inspiring moments in sports, reasons to believe, heartbreaking losses and chances to leave your friends hanging by staying in on a weekend night because you don’t want to deal with it. We at TwH get that. In that spirit, we gathered around our digital campfire and threw darts into our brains trying to pinpoint some of what we think may come to fruition in the coming year. Don’t quote us on this.
Tonight, Devonté Hynes will lead his project, Blood Orange, in the second show of a stand at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater with several guests, in charitable performances for Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. Along with the matinee performance this afternoon, Hynes’ two shows at the Apollo were highly anticipated and, as such, sold out almost as quickly as a Bruce Springsteen concert. For the latter, timelessness is an accepted standard; for the former, critical acclaim has become his typical accompaniment, and the Apollo shows should stand to be something of a turning point for Hynes in terms of popular recognition, even in the face of his highly-touted collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen earlier this year, “All That,” which he co-wrote, and the Saturday Night Live appearance which followed.
Before you go jettisoning yourself into superstardom at the Apollo, however, you must prepare yourself for the endeavor. On Thursday night, in a secret show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, Hynes did just that, with an exclamation point.
In 2011, producer and multi-instrumentalist Devonté Hynes released Coastal Grooves under the moniker of Blood Orange. The album was hit-or-miss, with more tracks that were outlines rather than fully-fleshed out ideas. It was an unrestrained attempt at injecting post-punk moodiness into late-70s stylized R&B. With clunky melodies and equally awkward song structure to match, Coastal Grooves seemed like Hynes picked his new project out of a basket without any full realization of its potential. After a year of working with artists like Sky Ferriera and Solange, as well as releasing cuts like “Dinner” and “Bad Girls,” the blanks in Blood Orange’s sound were starting to be filled in with denser production and immense improvement in song craft.
On Cupid Deluxe, the project’s sophomore effort, Hynes has taken his market fresh idea and squeezed as much crimson juice as he could out of it.