Blood Orange

Blood Orange

For much of Freya Ridings’ second album Blood Orange, the London singer-songwriter is on the lookout. “I still pray somehow that I’ll see you someday/And I will hear you say, ‘Darling, you’re not getting away,’” she sings on second track “Bite Me”, while on the piano-led and string-laden “Face in the Crowd”, she hopes she’ll see her past love in the audience at a show. There are plenty more similarly relatable moments on Blood Orange, an album crafted in lockdown with Ridings deep in heartbreak and then, later, deep in love again. There’s the fear Ridings’ ex has already moved on with another person (“Someone New”), the realisation she might be better off without him (“Happier Alone”), her decision to let go of her anger (“Bitter”) and the tentative joy of letting love in again (“Can I Jump?”). Perhaps it’s the intensity of all of those feelings, but Blood Orange feels bolder and more immediate than her self-titled 2019 debut. There’s big disco energy on standout track “Weekends”, on which Ridings shimmies to the sound of her own crushing loneliness, and theatrical pop (“Blood Orange” and “Wither on the Vine”, both of which recall Florence + the Machine), as well as acoustic moments and intimate piano ballads. Blood Orange was crafted with some of the UK’s premier songwriters and producers (including KAMILLE, Steve Mac and Lostboy) plus another name: Ewan J Phillips, the folk singer-songwriter who is, in fact, the subject of all of these songs (and who worked on a handful of them with Ridings during lockdown). By the album’s close, Ridings is no longer just hoping to spot him somewhere; they’ve gone all in again. “I feel love, right here, right now, so clear,” sings Ridings—who married Phillips in 2022—on the cathartic closing track. “All my doubts and fears are gone when you’re near/I feel love.”

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