Exclaim!'s Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part Two Best of 2016



 
3. Blood Orange
Freetown Sound
(Domino)

As Blood Orange, Devonté Hynes has settled into his rightful musical identity, becoming a visionary that isn't afraid to confront the sociopolitical through the scope of his work. His third album, Freetown Sound, couldn't have arrived at a more crucial time. With the rights of so many minority groups in jeopardy across the world, Hynes provided a voice for them.
 
Freetown Sound is a deeply political manifesto concerning race, gender and sexuality, but through a remarkably accessible and personal pop lens. Hynes's distinct production style proved to be looser and more experimental than his work with pop starlets like Kylie Minogue and Carly Rae Jepsen (who provided vocals on "Better Than Me"), and yet, with unlimited artistic freedom, Hynes still chose to make some of his most alluring and passionate pop songs to date.
 
Alongside Beyoncé's Lemonade and Solange's A Seat at the Table, Blood Orange's Freetown Sound was one of 2016's most crucial and uncompromising artistic statements. It also marked the zenith of a career that seems destined to reach even higher.
Cam Lindsay