Search The Line of Best Fit
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RAYE opens her heart on her long-awaited debut My 21st Century Blues

"My 21st Century Blues"

Release date: 03 February 2023
RAYE My 21st Century Blues Album Artwork
31 January 2023, 10:00 Written by Hayley Milross

It's been a wild 18 months for RAYE. In that time she left her label, found her feet, recorded an album, and gained a number 1 single that, frankly, took too long for her to get.

Her number 1, “Escapism.,” carried such gravitas – firstly because the track’s trip-hop influences and general musicality hit just right, but it also felt like a breakthrough that everyone could bask in. After seven years of fighting with her now former label to release a debut album, it’s now her time to shine.

The very aptly named My 21st Century Blues shows in plain sight that RAYE has talent – and that is impossible to deny. Following an artistic introduction which imagines RAYE singing to an old-fashioned jazz club, “Oscar Winning Tears.” punches us with its sass and her sensational vocals. Meanwhile, “Hard Out Here.” is powerful and boisterous.

However, as we delve deeper, the album shifts gear. Swaying between funky production and hard-hitting lyrics that tell listeners exactly what she has gone through. The bluesy “The Thrill Is Gone.” which details the dimming spark of love, is closely followed by “Ice Cream Man.,” a stark telling of a sexual assault she endured at the hands of a producer. The seven songs that follow then carry less of an emotional punch than maybe was originally predicted or expected.

My 21st Century Blues will be labelled as an iconic debut – for the fight RAYE put up for her artistic freedom, for the path she paved for other artists to not be tied down to contracts that do not serve them, and for the impact “Escapism.” made through the overbearing noise of TikTok-reliant releases. Musically too, the album has excellent high points – tracks that showcase what brought RAYE to the forefront in the first place.

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