Dev Hynes, the creative force of genius behind Blood Orange
, has released two new songs today under the Blood Orange moniker, as part of a Soundcloud playlist entitled "Black History". Announcing the two new tracks, "Christopher & 6th" and "June 12th", on Instagram earlier, Blood Orange also stated that they will not be appearing on his upcoming album.
The first track on the playlist, "Christopher & 6th", appears to be an ode to the Stonewall riots of the late 60s which took place just down the street from the location in the song title. The events are noteworthy in black history in that black LGBT+ community members, including Martha P. Johnson
who gets a nod in the song, were considered some of the first instigators of the riots and ensuing push for LGBT+ freedoms, yet they have generally been whitewashed out from the history of the event. The track is a lo-fi ballad, seemingly a rough recording of an impromptu bedroom jam, with Hynes gracefully hitting emotional falsettos over captured field audio and a meandering guitar track.
The meaning behind the second track, "June 12th", is a little less certain, though it is likely a recognition of the Supreme Court ruling
in 1967 that made all laws banning interracial marriage unconstitutional. Some darker possibilities, though still of note, could be references to the KKK murder of NAACP activist Medgar Evers or the shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016 which primarily targeted persons of color in the LGBT+ community. In contrast to the ethereal "Christopher & 6th", the second track is more grounded, with a steady and stuttering drum pattern setting the pace for Hynes spoken-word narrative that covers everything from self-love to the pains of trying to fit in.
Both tracks are stunningly intimate looks into the life and mind of Hynes, though anything less shouldn't be expected. There's no word yet on whether the Black History playlist will be an ongoing project throughout February, or whether it will feature more artists, but its social and artistic value is certainly worth keeping an eye on for now.