Chicago is filled with many great not only R&B/Soul, but artists of all genres of music. Not only now, but throughout its storied history. So even the most talented of artists can get lost in that shuffle. Such is not the case though with still rising 23-year-old singer and songwriter, Ravyn Lenae. Who despite her still relatively young age has already released three projects. With Lenae’s last one. The, CRUSH, EP she released a little over four years ago. Being her most critically-acclaimed and well received project thus far. Which makes the wait and anticipation for Lenae’s finally recently released debut full-length album, HYPNOS. All the more palpable.
From her simple, yet magically divine and angelic vocals. To her production choices of a mostly futuristic and neo-soul, type vibe. That is displayed on the very amazing Steve Lacy and Luke Titus co-produced opener, Cameo. To the very upbeat and techno inspired Phoelix & Monte Booker co-produced. Extraterrestrial sounding standout dance jam, Venom. To the very beautifully soulful amazing vocal performance and harmonies. From Lenae over the beautiful guitar-driven production of Teo Halm, Phoelix and Titus. On, the very beautiful self-love anthem, Inside Out. As well as great stellar vocals performance from Lenae. On the very upbeat Sango and IAMNOBODI co-produced jam, M.I.A. That is about feeling free and comfortable in your own skin. Another very standout. Is the Steve Lacy-produced and featured very catchy slow jam, Skin Tight. That was released as the albums lead single back in January and has a very mesmerizingly enchanting dreamlike vocals performance from Lenae. Over the very mellow and enchantingly dreamlike production from Lacy. While also showing the undeniably great chemistry between both, Lenae and Lacy. The record still holding up as one of the best records on the album too. Lenae’s talent definitively shines bright throughout her soulfully enchantingly dreamlike debut. That will have you in a enchantingly dreamlike journey throughout all 16 tracks. Which is why, HYPNOS, is the perfect title for the album too.
Besides Lenae’s very truly amazing vocals. Which as we mentioned carry most of the album. The very mostly lush and enchantingly futuristic like production throughout. From the likes of fellow Chicago natives Monte Booker, Phoelix and Luke Titus. With Titus also co-executiving the album and playing a part in how seamlessly cohesive it is. Are among the other reasons why the album is so great. Not to mention the also great features from Mereba on, the very soothing, Where I’m From. As well as Smino’s pretty great guest verse on the very low-fi production, 3D and Fousheé on, Mercury.
By the time we get to the near midway point of the album. Lenae continues to deliver such great records as, Deep In The World. Her angelically dreamy beautiful vocals pulling you deep into her world. As she sings on part of the very beautiful chorus. That perfectly transitioning into the beautifully melodious, but short, Higher. While tracks like the very enchanting great, Satellites. That sees Lenae delivering such beautiful angelic ethereal vocals and melodies. Is not only arguably one if the albums best tracks. But one of the best R&B records released from anybody so far this year. That perfectly seguing into the just as beautiful and dreamy great, Lullaby. That finds Lenae so beautifully singing. Another great very melodious and angelic performance. To deliver another one of the top not only R&B and Soul, but records in all of music so far this year. The transition from, Lullaby, into previously released single, Light Me Up. So smooth and seamless. For what is also easily one of the best three great track runs you will find on any debut album. But especially one so great. Especially when you have such a hypothetically smooth and amazing record as, Light Me Up. That once again sees Lenae delivering such magically divine and angelic smooth vocals.
As we get to the final stretch of the album. Records like, Like You Do, are too short and though they aren’t short enough to be an interlude. They definitely can be longer and aren’t as memorable. While things pick back up with the KAYTRANADA-produced jam, Xtasy. Before perfectly transitioning into the standout, Fousheé featured ballad, Mercury. That both Fousheé and Luke Titus co-produced. With Ravyn and Fousheé, both delivering such angelically great vocal performances. Their angelic harmonies together on the track. Some of the most beautiful you will ever hear too. The album then so beautifully closing out with by far the albums most beautifully emotional track, Wish. That sees Lenae getting out of her mostly regular normal signature soothingly heavenly angelic vocals. While delivering easily her most emotionally powerful vocal performance so far of her career. That is so beautifully emotional and heartfelt. It will likely either move you or be close to moving you to tears. The perfect ending to such a beautiful and almost near perfect debut album.
Ravyn Lenae without a doubt shows on her debut album, HYPNOS. That is by far not only one of the best R&B/Soul albums released this year, but one of the best released across all music so far here in 2022. Why she is not only a breath of fresh air and one of the most talented growing voices in R&B/Soul right now. But one of the most talented vocalists and singers in all of music. Who has a very bright future and will be here for plenty of years. As well as generations to come.