My 21st Century Blues is the debut studio album by British singer and songwriter Raye, released through Human Re Sources Independently on 3 February 2023. The album is Raye's first project following her departure from Polydor Records in 2021. Largely co-written by Raye with production handled by Mike Sabath, herself, BloodPop, Punctual and Di Genius, it was met with universal acclaim from critics. The album features appearances from 070 Shake and Mahalia.
The album lyrically explores various themes including Raye's own struggles with addiction, insecurity, body dysmorphia, and sexual assault. It was supported by the singles "Hard Out Here", "Black Mascara", "Escapism" featuring 070 Shake, "The Thrill Is Gone", and "Ice Cream Man". "Escapism" peaked at number one in the UK in January 2023, and entered the top ten in 22 other music markets.
In a interview for Rolling Stone UK, Raye stated that her debut album features some of her most personal songwriting to date, including her struggles with body dysmorphia, anxiety, and sexual assault. She credits some of songs on her album as helping her as part of her healing process by adding:
"Some of these songs have helped me process. I had just been needing to hear them in a more beautiful form. Like “Body Dysmorphia,” it sounds so ugly in my head, but when you put it into that song, it makes it a little bit easier for me to digest. A lot of these stories are very medicinal and very raw and therapeutic for me. I think it’s been really important for me to take it there, as hard as it’s been sometimes."
Raye also talks about the first time she self directed a video for the song "Ice Cream Man" which details her experience with sexual assault. My 21st Century Blues, also features tracks that was written by Raye from previous years, with many songs being cut from the final tracklist because it didn't fit with the theme of the album.
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