Cincinnati Native Sudan Archives' Sophomore Album Makes the New York Times' 'Best Albums of 2022' List

"Sudan Archives — the songwriter, singer and violinist Brittney Denise Parks — juggles the many conflicting pressures and aspirations of being young, Black, female, artistic, carnal, career-minded and social on 'Natural Brown Prom Queen.'"

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click to enlarge Sudan Archives - Photo: Alex Black
Photo: Alex Black
Sudan Archives

Brittney Denise Parks is having a good year.

The Cincinnati native, now a Los Angeles resident performing under the moniker Sudan Archives, released her sophomore album, Natural Brown Prom Queen, to quite a bit of fanfare back in September.

Since 2017, Parks has been releasing music that combines visual art with "atmospheric vocals, expressive violin and eclectic beats inspired equally by slanted R&B and experimental EDM," as contributor Jason Gargano wrote in a 2020 CityBeat feature about Parks. In 2019, Parks released her debut album, Athena.

Upon its release, music outlets like Pitchfork praised Natural Brown Prom Queen for its technical innovation and avant-garde approach to storytelling.

And now, Natural Brown Prom Queen has made its way on to several end-of-year lists, including the New York Times' "Best Albums of 2022" roundup published on Nov. 30. Placing fourth on the list, authors Jon Pareles, Jon Caramanica and Lindsay Zoladz wrote this about Parks' album:
"Sudan Archives — the songwriter, singer and violinist Brittney Denise Parks — juggles the many conflicting pressures and aspirations of being young, Black, female, artistic, carnal, career-minded and social on Natural Brown Prom Queen. The music is kaleidoscopic, deploying funk, electronics, hip-hop beats, jazz, chamber-music arrangements and the African fiddle riffs that inspired Sudan Archives’ name, barely keeping up with her ambitions."
To learn more about her Cincinnati roots, read CityBeat's 2020 profile of Parks.

Below, watch Parks' music video for "OMG BRITT" from Natural Brown Prom Queen:
 


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