This past weekend, Blood Orange played what looked like one hell of a Coachella set. Devonté Hynes opened up with a mostly solo-acoustic cover of Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold,” and he brought Tei Shi and Lil Yachty to the stage for “Hope.” He made the stage his own, which is really the most important thing that an artist can do at Coachella. And now he’s also made the most of the weekend between Coachella festivals, debuting two new songs on James Corden’s Late Late Show.
Blood Orange’s most recent album Negro Swan is less than a year old, and yet the two new songs that Hynes sang on Corden suggest a slight change of direction. “Something To Do” is a brief throat-clearing of a song, a hazy guitar-and-voice reverie. It mostly works as an intro to “Dark Handsome,” a beatific soul ballad built on an 808 thump. The synthy, woozy track features a pumped-in verse from an as-yet-identified rapper, and there’s a sample of a screwed-up rap verse at the end. On first listen, it’s a heavy song about identity and anxiety, and I can’t wait to hear the proper recorded version.
Hynes always puts careful work into how he presents his songs, and this was no exception. Far from a standard late-night performance, this was staged as some kind of outdoor lullaby. Hynes started out lying down on an Astroturf ground, next to a British flag. Behind him, four backup singers sat on park benches. There was no visible band, and Hynes may have been lip-syncing. He also stared down the camera hard at the end. Watch it below.
Negro Swan is out now on Domino. Fingers crossed for a new single release this week.