By: Alvindra |
Way before the success of his album Negro Swan, before he produced for the likes of A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, Solange, and Carly Rae Jepsen, before he recorded Original Motion Picture Score fro James Franco’s 2013 film Palo Alto, multi-talented singer, songwriter, producer Devonte Hynes, more widely known for his moniker Blood Orange, released his first album, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge on January 21, 2008. Dev Hynes that was the guitarist and occasional vocalist of British Dance Punk band Test Icicles released his first album, and later also his second under the name Lightspeed Champion. Unlike his more R&B focused later works as Blood Orange, his first two albums are Indie Rock with Folk influence instead. Falling Off The Lavender Bridge in particular is a very personal album, revolving mostly on topics like insecurity, anxiety, and paranoia, topics he will get back on and dive deeper on his later album Negro Swan.
The gloomy Indie Rock album opened with a folkish guitar melody on the short track, “Number One”, before it jumps directly to the album single, “Galaxy Of The Lost”. In the Country-influenced Indie Rock track Champion expresses his resentment towards his peers or ex partner who manipulates him into doing something he doesn’t want to do. The narrative of “inability and getting forced to fit in” is repeated multiple time in this album, such as the lyrics “I feel the n****** eyes, they’re staring / Makes me want to rip off my skin” on the track “Devil Tricks For A Bitch” and “My muse is out of control / Don’t think I’m happy here at all / Never dreamed of doing this.. / A nightmare crash in this body” on the track “Waiting Game”. 10-minute instrumental masterpiece “Midnight Surprise” shows us the erratic, unstable side of Champion that leads to his self destructive tendencies. The track “Devil Tracks For A Bitch” tell us how Champion’s inability to fit in has resulted in him not wanting to go outside, for fear of getting discriminated by his peers. The beautiful violin sounds and synth on the background take us to the next song “I Could Have Done It Myself”, a song where he expresses regrets of his first sex, that he did not enjoy it at all and he’d rather just do it himself. This might be due to the pressure from his peers, especially in the black community where virgin boys are often getting clowned by their peers. Piano Ballad track “Salt Water” saw Champion talk about his success as a past member of Test Icicles. He is happy since it has been his dream for so long, but the pressure he gets from time to time can consume him and lead him to his fall. The pressure that gets into him is also discussed further in “Dry Lips”. The track “No Surprise (For Wendela) / Midnight Surprise” is possibly his attempt to come into terms with himself and all the self loathing in the process, something that many of us can relate to. The album closes with beautiful Folk Rock track “Back To Black”, which talks about him seperating from a girl, which very possibly resembles a part of himself, maybe his consciousness, no longer wanting to be associated with him as he begin to fade to black.
Overall, Falling Of The Lavender Bridge is a very personal, intriguing work of art. There are many ambiguity and cryptic messages inside the album with so many different interpretations since he never really explains about the meanings behind this release in particular anyway. The guitar, piano, violin, and other instruments in this album are assembled greatly to produce a beautiful Indie Rock / Folk album with great storytelling and recording performance by the genius Dev Hynes. This album is very recommended for people who like or want to get into Indie Rock or Indie Folk, and also for people who enjoy Blood Orange’s works and want to dive deeper into Dev Hynes’ discography.