AOTY 2018
Blood Orange - Negro Swan
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2018 Ratings: #20 / 705
Year End Rank: #21
User Score
Based on 538 ratings
2018 Ratings: #32
August 24, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Observer

Set over gorgeous production, and serving as a comforting reminder to black sheep and ugly ducklings everywhere that it pays to be true to one’s full self, Negro Swan is a dizzying triumph.

100
NME

With his fourth album as Blood Orange, pop polymath Dev Hynes cherry picks jazz piano, unstructured guitar and A-class collaborators to create an introspective masterwork about the desire to be loved.

100
A.V. Club

He’s given us not just a great album, but a piece of himself that stands as a whole truth that need not be escaped, but rather, treasured.

91
Consequence of Sound

Though nothing from the album may ever get played in a ballroom, Negro Swan is a grand work that gives credit to the pioneers of the culture while building a path forward within that framework, placing Hynes firmly in the canon as one of the most insightful musicians of his generation.

90
Loud and Quiet

Musically ‘Negro Swan’ is both Hynes’s most energetic and most subdued work, playing like a carousel lampshade illuminating and warping the brief patterns of melodic soul, jazz, hip-hop and RnB. Every conversation is personal but feels applicable to a greater black narrative.

90
Northern Transmissions

Though Hynes isn’t always on lead in this latest album, their creativity is always very present on every track to assure it’s a Blood Orange cut. With very little dead weight in its extended run, this is one of those records that will likely only improve on repeat listens.

90
Slant Magazine

Negro Swan is Blood Orange's most assured, accomplished, and significant album to date.

90
The Line of Best Fit

The past few years have seen Dev Hynes become one of the most prominent, important voices in pop. Negro Swan builds upon this legacy.

90
AllMusic

Negro Swan sonically is as fluid as it is fragmented, synthesizing and bounding between bedsit post-punk, desolate dream pop, chillwave-coated quiet storm, and low-profile hip-hop soul.

88
Paste

With myriad collaborators from A$AP Rocky and Puff Daddy, to rising talents TeiShi and Ian Isiah, Negro Swan looks unflinchingly at black and queer life—its traumas, its tensions, its passions. And tucked somewhere within it all, is hope.

85
The 405
It's a rich and rewarding experience, one that offers a powerful glimpse into the everyday lives of those members of marginalized communities struggling for acceptance in an increasingly closed, divided, and hostile society.
84
GIGsoup
'Negro Swan' feels ineffable, a listening experience to meditate on throughout multiple listens, self-care rituals, and resolutely being in the world. In this way, Dev Hynes has once again blessed audiences with a Blood Orange record that will prove an essential, superb release far beyond the waning months of 2018.
80
The Independent

While Negro Swan elaborates on Hynes’s best work, he remains grounded in cosy bedroom-pop by shambling drum machines, vocal compressors and gratuitous psych pedals.

80
Exclaim!

Intentionally or not, Hynes has surreptitiously convinced listeners to deeply engage with his art; we're digging for the grooves, searching out the hooks while questioning our own habits and assumptions, as we look for our own meaning in the music. And there's plenty in Negro Swan.

80
Spectrum Culture

Hynes is personal, searing and close to the bone on Negro Swan, easily making it the most exceptional record of his career thus far.

80
Rolling Stone
The world could use more artists like Hynes — especially now.
80
Highsnobiety

Negro Swan dives even deeper into the black psyche as Hynes captivatingly articulates his inner exploration of black existence.

80
Clash

Hynes creates an elegant sadness that is balanced and ultimately flawless.

80
The Needle Drop

Blood Orange's latest is a dreamy, sensual, and holistic album with a message.

80
Crack Magazine

It’s clear that through this album’s 16 introspective, tender and heart-rending tracks, this is the kind of world Dev Hynes is striving to create through his music: one where the negro swan isn’t only desired, but allowed to soar.

80
Drowned in Sound

All of this is reflected in tunes that warp and slide uncomfortably, guitars that never seem to stay quite in tune, beats and hooks that dissolve before they resolve, Dev Hynes’ vocal always naked and vulnerable, with no effort made to hide his insecurities with his own ability.

80
No Ripcord

It’s rare that an artist can operate within the pop template, collaborate with household names and still produce work that can be considered as significantly culturally important, but that’s what Hynes manages.

76
Pitchfork
Dev Hynes’ fourth album as Blood Orange focuses on black depression, sketching his anxious alt-pop, progressive R&B, indie hip-hop, downtempo rock, and spacey chillwave into a minimalist emulsion.
70
Under The Radar
For now, Blood Orange remains an artist who flirts with greatness but frustratingly continues to fall short.
60
The Guardian

Just when you settle into Negro Swan’s groove, it changes tack, leaving you feeling weirdly unmoored from it and, worse, emotionally disconnected.

60
Tiny Mix Tapes

It all sounds incredible, but there is a fundamental, unignorable disconnect between what wants (or needs) to be said and what is actually said.

zachthesnack
95
Final Edit: This might be the best rnb record of the decade

Edit: I can offically say that it has grown on me. Hope, Jewelry and Charcoal Baby are absolute gems.

Edit2: holyyyyyy shitttt

With Negro Swan, Blood Orange created a piece that majestically explained his feelings towards a wide variety of topics like family, sexual frustration, loneliness and wealth. The biggest problem with this album was its replay value. The second time through I was longing for the end by the 5th song which ... read more
Cyd
75
Charcoal Baby is a perfect song
itsyahboinoah
87
The ugly duckling blossom into a majestic swan.
morningsbell
73
Kinda disappointed... sounds all chill and nice but reminds me of Frank Ocean vibes with Drake beats. Or just a more boring Frank Ocean. That A$AP Rocky feature was kinda bad aside from the Earl joke
holyfishpaste
88
Sometimes you gotta see someone perform their stuff live to really let the majesty sink in. This album is like a smorgasbord of beautiful encouragement, and it's just what 2018 needs.

FAVE TRACKS: Saint, Hope, Orlando, Holy Will, Charcoal Baby, Minetta Creek, Dagenham Dream
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Track List

  1. Orlando
  2. Saint
  3. Take Your Time
  4. Hope (feat. Puff Daddy & Tei Shi)
  5. Jewelry
  6. Family (feat. Janet Mock)
  7. Charcoal Baby
  8. Vulture Baby
  9. Chewing Gum (feat. A$AP Rocky & Project Pat)
  10. Holy Will (feat. Ian Isiah)
  11. Dagenham Dream
  12. Nappy Wonder
  13. Runnin’ (feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow)
  14. Out Of Your League (feat. Steve Lacy)
  15. Minetta Creek
  16. Smoke
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Added on: July 19, 2018