With almost every aspect of American culture currently in Donald-division, this progressive pop album proves the magic of bringing diversity together.
D∆WN (real name Dawn Richard) is a familiar figure to anyone with a loud-and-proud or slightly ashamed love for MTV, having begun her musical journey in the mainstream spotlight on ‘Making the Band’ in 2004. Richard’s role in girl group Danity Kane propped her up as a caricature of a young, generic Rihanna or Beyoncé challenger. With this release of her third LP Redemption completing the trilogy of a greatly personal, visionary compilation of artistry, Richard’s has shown that her clear-as-day authenticity is anything but distorted.
Few contemporary artists can boast the level of individualism and vision Richard’s naturally portrays. Not only has she successfully and effortlessly blended genres – from drum and bass to rock, from acapella to Afrofuturism – but her collaboration with brands such as YouTube and VR Playhouse have allowed her eclectic wonderings to become a technological reality. An 8-minute VR experience accompanies this perfectly peculiar album, to let her fans adopt the futuristic state-of-mind that sets Richard on her own pedestal.
And to fit with the many fields of music, the message of the album seems layered as well. ‘Voices’ merges a club-anthem beat with an empowering, almost paradoxical hook lyric ‘I put a brave face on,’ reflecting a relevant feeling given recent events of being torn between what we want to be, and what is reality. ‘Love Under Lights,’ despite initially giving off a more familiar R&B sound, explores deep into a jungle-esque percussive, and yet doesn’t lose your attention at any point. So how can Richard’s divert in so many different directions – encompassing every genre you can think of – without making you want to stop listening?
Freddie Mercury once said – “When I’m dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance”. Perhaps Mercury is better suited for Richard to be compared to.