Published Nov 22, 2016Dawn Richard is the epitome of hustle. Redemption represents the finale of a trilogy of albums that have collectively represented an Afro-futurist mix of electronica, pop and R&B.
It hasn't always worked, but it's always been interesting. With her days as a member of ill-fated girl group Danity Kane from MTV's Making the Band firmly behind her, Richard has fought the "ad lib to fade" part of her career with a commendable tenacity. As D∆WN, Richard's Redemption is ambitious in scope and resolutely abstract: dance anthem "Voices" and "Love Under Lights" feel authoritatively groovy and the elliptical "Black Crimes" is unapologetically fierce, while the hip-hop swing of "L.A.," featuring Trombone Shorty, keeps heads nodding. "Renegades" has a distinctive house feel and should earn a remix or two, and the moodiness of "The Louvre" opens with a sombre strings medley before blossoming into bold balladry.
As an independent artist, Richards aims for an experimental vibe that has already been coopted by the mainstream pop and EDM, but Redemption nonetheless by revelling in triumphant themes of love, life and sexual identity — and does so in a way that's delightfully thoughtful and honest. (Independent)