Solange: A Seat at the Table

Posted November 16, 2016 by in r&b



4.5/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , , , ,
Label: ,
Genre: Soul, R&B, neo-soul
Producer: Solange, Raphael Saadiq, Troy R8dio Johnson, Raymond Angry, Questlove, Majical Cloudz, Sir Dylan, David Longstreth Bryndon Cook Dave Sitek, Patrick Wimberly, Sampha Kwes Olugbenga Adelekan Adam Bainbridge, Sean Nicholas, Savage John Kirby, Rostam Batmanglij, Q-Tip
Label: Saint, Columbia
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 51:43
Release Date: 30 September 2016
Spin This: "Cranes in the Sky, " "Mad," "I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It"


Strong soul and adventurous R&B sweeps the ear; idea of dropping meaningful commentary raises the album to Stevie Wonder genius


Parts of second half looses some of the album's grit as it slips into sleepy mode, but it's a faux pas that's easily overlooked

Solange makes her seat at the table of music greats with stylish, mesmeric third disc

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Solange makes her seat at the table of music greats with stylish, mesmeric third disc

solange-01Solange Knowles‘ biggest hit, outside the one she gave across the face of Beyoncé’s hubby Jay-Z in the infamous elevator fight scene, was “I Decided,” a Motown throwback type of tune. It was cute, but not highly innovative and not enough to impress the fans of her popular sister. But let it be said: Solange isn’t trying to out-do or outshine Beyoncé. At the root of Solange’s musical epiphanies are her infatuations with the R&B throwback and the eclectic wanderer, which puts her in a far different lane than Bey. But those that have notoriously neglected Solange because of some silly online “sibling rivalry” trickery are about to get a serious wake-up call.

A Seat at the Table, Solange’s third solo album, is a career’s best, bringing in a sweet blend of familiar R&B vibes and coffeeshop soul while reaching for teachable moments in these sketchy, hard times. The sounds aboard feels like a proper sequel to Southern Hummingbird, but the messages and curvy musical explorations soars into the finale fulfillingness of Stevie, especially as she weaves social conscious commentary and moody interludes throughout the entire collection. Inside Knowles constructs a self-awareness collection of black pride that walks within the IQ of India.Aire, dropping “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “F.U.B.U,” which goes two steps further than her sister’s “Formation.” And to do this, she constructs a half-soundtrack, half-documentary which takes the audio testimonies of black entrepreneur and rap mogul Master P on interludes “Don’t Wish Me Well” and “Pedestals.” It’s an eye-opener on how to survive through times of uncertainty and a candlelight for those anxious to escape their dark tunnels of life. Mom Tina Knowles even offers her input and observations on blackness inside the revelatory interlude “Tina Taught Me.”

Aside from all the preaching, Solange strikes big with the Raphael Saadiq-produced “Cranes in the Sky,” hands-down the smartest and boombastic track of the disc. It’s smitten with sultry strings, glorious harmonies, enchanting piano chords and a drum track akin back to Al Green’s “So Glad You’re Mine.” The Lil Wayne-guested “Mad” is just as forward, hitting hard with Aaliyah swag. She even revs up her creative energy alongside Destiny’s Child alum Kelly Rowland and Nia Andrews on “I Got So Much Magic,” a track glowing with jazz-pop harmonies, Stevie Wonder synth funk and a Nat Adderley, Jr./Luther Vandross-esque piano.

As the album progresses, Solange settles into cruise control, settling for a comfy Jhené Aiko mood (“Scales,” “No Limits”) that hardly lets up. But on the bulk of A Seat at the Table, she’s now tweeting like Tweet, ba-dooing like Erykah Badu. It’s a far cry from the poppier Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, but it’s a detour that feels perfect on her. And the timing of its release, in a year when R&B is dangerously slipping from the pop conscious and as modern-day race relations have seem to be reaching new lows, makes it a godsent.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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