RAYE
My 21st Century Blues


4.0
excellent

Review

by InfernalDeity CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
February 8th, 2023 | 10 replies


Release Date: 02/03/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pain is defeated by art.

Where does it take you? When you come home from a long day of work, shaking off the weight of the day and sliding your headphones on, where does it take you? What are you searching for? Emotional kinship? Self-validation? More importantly, do you find it? Whether your drug is depth or distraction, music is a consistent dealer. Whatever your vice, My 21st Century Blues has your fix. This is Raye's first project following her departure from Polydor Records in 2021, and it's a resounding proclamation of growth and a fearless display of vulnerability.

The subject matter of this record surrounds addiction, sexual assault, depression, and anxiety. Tracks like Mary Jane tactfully explore the escapism that various illicit substances provide for the wounded soul. A blues guitar lick with a slight delay and heavy-handed reverb anchors the track while Raye's soothing vocals lightly dance above like a fleeting fever dream. One distinguishing feature that is palpably entwined in Raye's music is her gospel background and apparent love for early 2000s R&B, but this influence is used sparingly yet with great effect. While the Amy Winehouse influence is readily apparent, it would be a cheap and quick comparison that does not begin to take into account Raye's own musical genius.

The heavy subject matter of this record is exemplified in its most potent form through the eighth track, Ice Cream Man, which details Raye's experience of sexual assault with an unnamed producer. Similarly, tracks like Body Dysmorphia and Environmental Anxiety are excellent studies of introspection conveyed in meter and rhyme. A fitting noire atmosphere complements these tracks, but the production is never languid or too lugubrious despite its depressing nature. However, this isn't solely a melancholy affair. Tracks like Five Star Hotels are certified bangers where Raye utilizes a more traditional R&B/Hip-Hop approach to her vocals. Even the songs exhibiting darker lyrics, such as Black Mascara, incorporate hypnotic techno beats with ethereal background vocals that provide a refreshing change of pace. In short, My 21st Century Blues is a strong release from a young artist showing a lot of promise. This dynamic record explores darker subject matter without being entirely consumed by the crushing emotions associated with it. It isn't a record by a victim, but a survivor.



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user ratings (19)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2023


1568 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wanted to write a review for this but couldn't find the right words for it. Really appreciate your take on this record, very high quality!

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2023


572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was pretty hesitant about reviewing it. It's an excellent release, but it's hard to pin everything it conveys on paper. Glad you enjoyed it!

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2023


18241 Comments


A third paragraph in these is doing a wonder for your writing depth-wise. Invisi-pos.

MarsKid
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2023


20948 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Jamming this, she's got a nice voice. Curious to hear this album evolve.

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2023


572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Gnocchi Thanks for the guidance Chef

@MarsKid Yeah, she has a real soothing tone

PumpBoffBag
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2023


1437 Comments


This sounds interesting, will defo be checking. Quality write-up man

MarsKid
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2023


20948 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

and ajcollins is here! He is inevitable...

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2023


994 Comments


Good job sir 👏

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2023


572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you all for the kind words

VolcanoDay
February 10th 2023


149 Comments


This is a lovely record, might be the best of the year so far. Great writeup, all killer no filler



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