RAYE: My 21st Century Blues Album Review

In a world filled with pop music sensations, RAYE emerges as a unique voice with her debut full-length album, “My 21st Century Blues.” This rising star from the UK has a story to tell, one of breaking free from the constraints of the music industry and embracing her true self. With a mix of bold anthems and soul-searching ballads, RAYE takes us on a musical journey that reflects the complexities of the 21st century.

My 21st Century Blues Album Overview

“My 21st Century Blues” is a tapestry of emotions and experiences, each track a glimpse into RAYE’s world. The album opens with “Hard Out Here,” a defiant anthem where she challenges the norms and demands to be heard. It’s a powerful introduction to an album that refuses to conform. As the album unfolds, we’re treated to a variety of styles, from the sultry allure of “Flip a Switch” to the introspective depth of “Black Mascara.” RAYE’s willingness to experiment with different sounds showcases her versatility as an artist.

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Track Analysis

Each track on the album offers a unique perspective, like a puzzle piece that contributes to the whole picture. “Escapism,” featuring 070 Shake, delves into the dark world of addiction, capturing the struggles and yearnings of its protagonist. The haunting production and candid lyrics make it a standout moment. On the other hand, “Thrill Is Gone” and “Worth It” hearken back to classic styles, providing a contrast to the more contemporary tracks.

Production and Instrumentation

The production of “My 21st Century Blues” is a sonic adventure that traverses various genres. The album’s willingness to blend jazz influences, funk guitars, and modern pop beats creates a dynamic listening experience. The instrumentation is carefully crafted to support the emotional tone of each song. From the brassy harmonies in “Environmental Anxiety” to the rhythmic pulse of “Five Star Hotels,” the production enhances RAYE’s storytelling.

Songwriting and Lyrics

RAYE’s songwriting prowess shines throughout the album. In “Black Mascara,” she challenges conventions and refuses to glorify heartbreak through numbing substances. The lyrics of “Escapism” paint a vivid picture of desperation and desire, while “Hard Out Here” is a rallying cry against inequality. However, there are moments where the breadth of themes, as in “Environmental Anxiety,” can feel overwhelming and disjointed.

Vocal Performance

RAYE’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with. Her powerhouse voice is showcased in tracks like “Thrill Is Gone,” where she effortlessly navigates a range of emotions. The vulnerability in her delivery on “Flip a Switch” and “Five Star Hotels” draws listeners in, creating a sense of intimacy. RAYE’s ability to convey both strength and fragility adds depth to the album’s emotional palette.

Comparisons and Influences

RAYE’s influences are woven into the fabric of “My 21st Century Blues.” Her jazz background, evident in tracks like “Black Mascara,” adds a layer of sophistication to her music. The album’s fusion of styles, from R&B to dance-pop, reflects the diverse musical landscape of the 21st century. While the eclectic mix showcases RAYE’s versatility, it also contributes to a lack of thematic cohesion.

Emotional Impact

The emotional impact of the album is undeniable. RAYE’s defiance in tracks like “Hard Out Here” resonates with those who have felt marginalized or silenced. Conversely, the raw vulnerability of “Escapism” and “Flip a Switch” taps into universal experiences of pain and longing. The album’s ability to traverse the spectrum of human emotions is a testament to RAYE’s artistry.

Target Audience

“My 21st Century Blues” speaks to a generation that seeks authenticity and representation. RAYE’s willingness to challenge industry norms and address taboo subjects makes her a relatable figure for those navigating the complexities of modern life. The album’s blend of genres ensures that it has something to offer to a wide audience, from jazz enthusiasts to pop music lovers.


While “My 21st Century Blues” is a showcase of RAYE’s versatility, its lack of a clear thematic throughline can be a drawback. The album’s diverse styles sometimes lead to a sense of disconnection between tracks. Additionally, ambitious lyrical themes, as in “Environmental Anxiety,” can feel rushed and superficial. Despite these criticisms, RAYE’s willingness to experiment and explore is commendable.

Personal Insights

RAYE’s journey to independence and self-expression is a narrative that resonates deeply. The album’s exploration of identity, from challenging industry norms to reclaiming personal narratives, invites listeners to reflect on their own paths. “My 21st Century Blues” is a reminder that the road to self-discovery is rarely linear, but it’s a journey worth taking.


In “My 21st Century Blues,” RAYE invites us into her world, where defiance meets vulnerability and experimentation meets introspection. This album is a testament to her artistic evolution and her refusal to be confined by expectations. As RAYE continues to find her voice and carve her own path, “My 21st Century Blues” stands as a bold step forward in her journey as a 21st-century artist.

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