Near the end of Blood Orange’s outstanding 2013 album Cupid Deluxe, the psychic tension that’s been building up over its course finally has a moment of release as project mastermind Dev Hynes veers sharply away from the retro-tinged funk that makes up most of the record. The result is ”High Street,” a gentle, meditative ballad where he takes a secondary role providing hooks for British rapper Skepta’s verses.
Despite the novelty value of the its Parade-era-Prince-meets-UK-grime approach, it’s a subtle composition that finds a steady balance between its two sides. With Skepta’s introspective lyrics, Hynes’s echo-soaked vocals, and the weightless flourishes of piano and synth pads that prop it all up, it sounds like a song made for contemplative late-night walks.
Fittingly, its video is heavy on atmospheric shots of Hynes wandering the nocturnal streets of London, and it also features a visually impressive setup with Skepta rapping in front of an array of unmanned double-decker buses. While there are significantly fewer of Hynes’s fantastic dance moves in “High Street” than there were in Cupid Deluxe’s first three videos, it’s still pretty great.