My thoughts on D∆WN’s ‘Redemption’ album, which just dropped and is already on REPEAT

Years ago, I used to write music reviews and share them with friends and co-workers. But a strange thing happened: I started writing for a living and my quirky, humorous reviews came to a halt. Crazy, right? Well, the release of D∆WN’s Redemption album has reignited a flame within me that’s been dormant for too long. As I write this, I am currently sitting (sometimes standing) on my couch, blasting the stream of Richard’s “Renegades” through my TV. It’s loud AF because I cannot contain how much I love it and I don’t care who knows it. Not even folks who can see me dancing like a madwoman when I play it while I’m driving, but more on that later…

When I first heard Redemption last week on NPR, I instantly fell in love with it and knew I had to have it come Nov. 18 when it officially goes on sale (which is today, but I already pre-ordered). I listened while working, and accomplishing my tasks while jamming to Richard’s moving melodies made for the sweetest struggle ever.

So, here’s my personal review of Redemption. Needless to say, the entirety of the album is LIT, but I simply highlighted my faves along with a brief summation of Richard’s sonic slayage. Redemption (Intro): DAMMIT, I’M HOOKED ALREADY. It reminds me of a fantasy movie, like this scene out of The Neverending Story where Atreyu came face to face with Bastian at the Magic Mirror gate:

Love Under Lights: This song finds Dawn singing about a woman who is 5’10″/lookin’ real good in her skin/I think her shirt said Zeppelin/boots up to her ass, man,” and then the next verse, she’s eyeing a guy who is also a prospect for some “temporary lovin’.” It’s a pretty clever way to highlight sexuality as a theme. And once again, the beats are BOMB.

LA: This laid-back tune is something you can ride to in deep, contemplative thought. Just when I finally grasped the lyric, “We thought we was above it all ‘cause we’ve been friends since Wayne was a Hot Boy,” the the instruments take over at the 2:00 minute-mark and veer off into New Orleans jazz band territory with a Trombone Shorty feature, and I willingly go with it.

Renegades: I don’t know how I manage to drive listening to this song because this is literally me behind the wheel, only I dance harder:

Then when the beat drops at 3:09, it’s like the spirit takes me OVER and who TF is driving my car ’cause it sure ain’t me:

IF IT ISN’T OBVIOUS, THIS IS MY FAVORITE REDEMPTION SONG…On a more intellectual note, anyone else notice how the lyrics paint a picture of someone who wants to run away with a rebel, presumably towards freedom, yet the enunciation of “Renegades” is so tight and restricted? I need to know if that juxtaposition was intentional or just a sign that I got way too buzzed while listening to this.

Vines (interlude): OK so I see she doing this shit again. Just like I needed A Tell Tale Heart‘s “Vibrate” to be longer and BlackHeart’s “Titans” to be a full-length ass song, I’M TOO DOPE TO WALK THIS EARTH WITHOUT A FULL VERSION OF VINES, DAWN! Thx in advance!

The Louvre: Undeniably soul-stirring. The opening with the strings makes me wanna ugly cry even when I don’t have a damn thing to be sad about. But like redemption, the 3:00-mark will uplift you and have you standing on a roof, fully believing you can jump off and fly.

A photo posted by D∆WN (@dawnrichard) on

Valhalla (Outro) – EFFIN’ LOVE THIS. Why are Dawn’s interludes more lyrically and sonically superior than anything I hear on any random radio station?!

So, from start to finish, Redemption is a beautiful album. Dare I say it’s Dawn’s best one yet?  I just wish there were more SONGS because, ugh, it’s just too good to be a mere 47 minutes long. While I’m sad to see the Hearts trilogy come to an end, I know I won’t stop listening to any of the previous Heart albums anytime soon.

Oh, and I cannot WAIT to see her perform “Renegades” live.



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Kenya is a freelance writer and copy editor from Dallas. Her work can be seen on Apartment Therapy, Playboy, Essence, Bustle and various other publications.