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RAYE Finally Releases ‘My 21st Century Blues’

International breakout artist, RAYE, finally releases her long-awaited and masterfully-crafted debut album, My 21st Century Blues.

After her old label, Polydor, withheld this project for seven years, RAYE broke her contract and left. A year later, she signed with J. Erving’s distribution and artist services company Human Re Sources and garnered massive viral success (thanks to TikTok’s chokehold on “Escapism” by RAYE and 070 Shake.)

International breakout artist, RAYE, finally releases her long-awaited and masterfully-crafted debut album, My 21st Century Blues.
Raye (Credit: Press)

That seven-year struggle was the driving force behind her music and newfound success. When she put an album display outside Polydor’s London offices on its release day, it was more than marketing gold— it was victory. 

‘My 21st Century Blues’ By RAYE

From the bluesy jazz club invitation to “get comfortable” and “stay awhile,” you know RAYE is here to present an experience that transcends genres. Her voice is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse’s twang and grit. But her invasive and snappy lyrics kick you like Doja Cat.

Filled to the brim with heartache, RAYE battles toxic relationships, traumatic experiences, and self-hatred across 13 songs, leaving plenty of room for growth, tears, and dancing sequences. Further, the balance between chaotically delicious to “softer” production is anchored in brilliant electric guitars and peppered with other intricate bass notes.

Though, the hypnotizing clubby “Escapism” is but the centerpiece of RAYE’s menacingly dark (yet genius) lyricism. Behind the hype, there are tender moments like “Ice Cream Man” and “Body Dysmorphia,” and the empowering gospel-like “Buss Down.”

The many faces of My 21st Century Blues make the artist distinctive— not for being try-hard but for her musical excellence. The brazen start-to-end storytelling is a gripping, one-of-a-kind experience that melts into the production and simply makes sense. By the end of the album, you feel that the girl tittering atop the album cover is somehow different, standing taller and prouder. Even more, you feel proud of her.

“Black Mascara”

This song has many “oh snap” moments with this foreboding synth and electronic repetition. At its root, the listener witnesses RAYE’s failure at coping with a breakup. Actually, she replaces the hurt with tears and constant questioning. “Look what you done to me” is her only retributional jab.

“Environmental Anxiety”

While “Environmental Anxiety” splits from the album’s cohesive theme, it highlights RAYE’s outward awareness. In fact, the singer reflects on the world’s decaying natural environment through parasocial societal failures. The song feels like a companion to MARINA’s “Purge The Poison” off the hyper-aware Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land. But, the singer shapes a more alternative pop experience with it’s humming production, punchy kickdrum, and hysterical music notes.

What do you think of Raye’s debut album, My 21st Century Blues? Let us know in the comments

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