The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

Follow Us on Twitter

Review | A dissection of “Cupid Deluxe” by Blood Orange

Formerly by the name of Devonte Hynes, Blood Orange celebrates a recent 10-year anniversary of a meaningful work of music

Blood Orange, also known as Dev Hynes, released his critically acclaimed album ‘Cupid Deluxe‘ ten years ago. Known for his distinct nostalgic yet modern sound, Hynes has been involved across many genres of music: jazz, funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and more recently, classical. His most recent album ‘Negro Swan‘ released back in 2018 has increased his audience and fan anticipation for more music.

Throughout Hynes’s discography, he has represented many personal themes relatable to the music audience such as musical identity, sexuality, love and what it means to be a Black man. Most specifically in Cupid Deluxe, Hynes introduces a vulnerable perspective of human transition in relationships and the highs and lows of love.

Review | A dissection of “Cupid Deluxe” by Blood Orange
Track One: Chamakay

Inspired by an old Guyanese slang word "Chamalkay", the first track on Cupid Deluxe means 'young mischievous girl'. Via Dazed & Confused, Hynes states, "It's not derogatory but it isn't over complimentary either. It was probably a word I just googled one day and the song kind of played into the feel of that."

This song explores themes surrounding love and loss as a result of it. This is first introduced in lines 5 and 6 of Verse One. "But now you're feeling empty. I tried my best last time. I'll leave you with your feelings. I'll leave you in your lies."

Track Two: You're Not Good Enough

In the second single of the album, Hynes alongside feature Samantha Urbani represented their ideals in emotional needs and frustrations coming out of a relationship. This track becomes a part of one of the main themes reoccurring in the album: self-reflection.

"I never was in love. You know that you were never good enough." This chorus throughout the song mirrors the meaning of a person in a relationship who finally realizes their partner is not adequate for them and the difficulty in expressing these feelings.

Track Three: Uncle ACE

Hynes conveys the thoughts of one experiencing detachment in a romantic relationship in the bridge of the song. "Does this feel easy? 'Cause it's all you get from me. Do you have reason to think I'm just what you need? I won't complain if you don't tell me what you see."

In the last lines of Verse Two, Hynes writes, "I don't need anything." This indicates the lack of emotional attachment and expectation of desires from a partner that stems from independence sought from within.

Track Four: No Right Thing

"No Right Thing" is the fourth track off of Cupid Deluxe featuring Samantha Urbani and David Longstreth. Urbani and Longstreth act as two individuals in a relationship, relaying their frustrations toward each other.

"But you look away, and I look to you." [Longstreth] "But you can't see me, when you're pushing me away." [Urbani]

In the midst of it, Hynes becomes present in Verse 2 when he vocalizes seeing his partner at their worst and addressing closure when moving on in a relationship.

"You've been my everything and I've seen your worst baby. You need somebody different."

Track Five: It is What It is

This song serves to the idea of acceptance and moving forward. Hynes reflects on his past in the first verse before the feature Samantha Urbani comes in in the chorus. "I've wasted moments in the bowery light and lost it all."

Urbani contrasts Hynes's regrets by validating his feelings, but ultimately suggesting for him to focus on the present time instead of constantly dwelling on what could have happened.

"Time will tell if you can figure this and work it out. No one's waiting for you anyway so don't be stressed now. Even if it's something that you've had your eye on. It is what it is."

Track Six: Chosen

Hynes created this track to broaden the idea of love and romantic relationships in the LGBTQ+ world. As said by Hynes in Entertainment Weekly, "All the stuff I'm singing is an ode to a boy! If I maybe fit more into a picture of what people imagined someone more queer to be, then they would notice that 'Chosen' was singing to them."

Opposed to the previous tracks on Cupid Deluxe that signify continuing life post-pursuing a relationship, this song seeks desire and longing for a partner. In the spoken introduction dialogue, "I stayed up all night long waiting for the fire ache in my heart to subside. It never happened. He was the most beautiful boy I'd ever seen."

Track Seven: Clipped On

In the seventh track of this album, Hynes collaborates with a Queens-based MC by the name of Despot.

This song addresses realistic struggles that occur in relationships: unfaithful partners, low self-esteem, and uncertainty. These characters become connected to love in healthy relationships and the end-- leaving.

In Verse One, Despot says, "So whats it gonna be? Either love or leave it alone."

Hynes reveals the reality of the darker side of romance, including the personal struggle of wanting a serious partner or wondering if they can ultimately keep the relationship. "Asking me how I sleep at night when you know that I don't."

Track Eight: Always Let U Down

The eighth song in the album covers an element of failing to meet the standards and expectations set by our loved ones.

In the chorus, Hynes and feature artist Urbani repeat the phrase, "I can only disappoint you, 'cause I always let you down."

The beliefs that many struggle with become clear-- it is inevitable they will let down the people they care about and have love for. "And tonight it feels so good. Feeling cheap. I can only disappoint you."

The acknowledgment of frustration that derives from the feeling of being unable to meet someone else's ideals and hopes is articulated by Hynes in this lyrical piece.

Track Nine: On the Line

As Hynes and Urbani meet once again in the ninth track, the experience of being on the verge of two partners leaving a relationship is the focal point of the song.

The curiosity and urge to know where the relationship stands are suggested. "Tell me if you're in my life. Don't go, baby, are we on the line? Are we through?"

'On the Line' is a phrase consistently coined throughout. It highlights a level of uncertainty and the moment in a relationship where it is decided if it is kept or left. "Baby, are we on the line? Tell me, baby, are you mine?"

Track Ten: High Street

Hynes takes the track 'High Street' with feature artist Skepta who both share London as their home. The track's name was heavily influenced by the Double Decker buses and people passing by in the streets of London.

Straying from the repetition of themes of love, relationships, and relationship struggles throughout the album, this track is directed with memories associated with different neighborhoods in London. Hynes touches on this aspect of nostalgia in the Intro verse. "Racing down Ilford Lane going home. Thinking about should I try to fake a fall."

Later in Verse 2, the realities of struggle present in these environments are spoken in lyrics. "Since mom struggling with the push chair? She had a bad mouth but she had good hair."

Overall, 'High Street' is a lesson of past memories, conflicts and hopes in a community. The quest to pursue one's dreams to rise outside of these places and make a name for oneself becomes everpresent.

Track Eleven: Time Will Tell

In the final track of Cupid Deluxe, a full-circle moment appears: accepting and not having feelings of anxiety about the future.

Lyrics in reference to two different songs in Hynes's discography make an appearance, 'It is What It is' and on the previous album, Coastal Grooves, 'Champagne Coast'. "Finishing 8 or 9 tell me it's the perfect time."

As Hynes concludes this album, he makes a brief mention of feelings of loneliness and the desire for a romantic partner. "I've kept it open, and wanted nobody to be my friend. Told you I'll be waiting hiding from the rainfall."

By a unique sonic approach to music, Hynes has proved himself to yet again be inventive with lyrical intention and musical execution. The progression from the first and last tracks of ‘Chamakay’ to ‘Time Will Tell’ embarked on a narrative that reaches many– love is raw with emotions of happiness, melancholy and even closure. Hynes both as Devonte Hynes and Blood Orange mastered the art of timelessness in the realm of music with a piece of work relevant ten years ago and present today.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Smoky Now Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *