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Music review: Taking a seat at the table with Solange

Josie Veal
Contributing Writer

Okay, so let’s get into this beautifully crafted work of art by Solange Knowles. Her new album, A Seat at the Table, is a strong representation of the simplicities, the complexities and the vulnerabilities of the intersections of being a black woman in America. The album not only sits in the hallway of good music, but it is also aesthetically pleasing. A Seat at the Table is an introspective look into living in America as a person of color, where Solange takes the listener through an adventure infused with mixes of neo-soul, hip-hop, blues and jazz. The album has 21 tracks accompanied by nine interludes that are narrated largely by Master P. Miller, hip hop mogul and CEO of No Limit Records. There are also two other interludes that are narrated by Solange’s parents’, Matthew Knowles and Tina Lawson.

The interludes on the album serve as smooth transitions that connect the whole album. The first track, entitled “Rise,” is a soulful ballad of declaration urging the listener to, “fall in your ways, so you can wake up and rise.” The repeated chorus turns into, “Walk in your ways” toward the end of the song.

The next track, “Weary,” then draws the listener into the record as a whole. The song includes an eerie bass guitar along with tribal drums and a beautiful piano throughout the song. Solange is warning her listener to be aware of their mental health, and to know what they stand for. Self-love is the evident ongoing theme throughout this album.

The release could not have more perfectly correlated with the ongoing injustices in the black community, highlighting black empowerment and gender empowerment. Artists like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are making records addressing these issues; however Solange mastered a less aggressive manner that’s easier on the ear. Solange reflects on her pain, her healing and her celebration all in one record; embodying soothing sounds that display her experiences as a black woman in America.

“Cranes in the Sky” is one of the major standouts on the record. It is a bright upbeat song that directly addresses Solange’s insecurities and depression and how she tried dealing with it all. “I tried to drink it away,” she sings, “I tried to put one in the air.” Solange in this song attempts to find an unhealthy distraction to escape her inner issues through anything from blowing up her credit cards to traveling the world.

“Mad” features the one and only Lil’ Wayne, who aids Solange on this track, suggesting that they have a lot to be mad about. In this song, Solange addresses how almost every black person in America probably feels. She displays that she does have a lot to be mad about as a black person in America, and there are people who perceive it as bitching, and who fail to see why she has the right to be mad. “I ran into this girl,” she said, “Why you always blaming? Why you can’t just face it? Why you always gotta be so mad?” Lil’ Wayne raps about trials in his life which aids in the theme of a song about overcoming emotional distress.

Solange’s A Seat at the Table is a sonically pleasing record that enwraps listeners in a new atmosphere. It holds a story where words, layers and melodies construct a narrative that is genuine to Solange’s evolving identity. Solange captured a way to make black women’s most mundane experiences strikingly beautiful and deep. Solange created a masterpeice that is so genuine, so relatable and so real that if it did not snatch your edges, she snatched the respect that she always deserved from you.

This album is just so great and even reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, which was a first for her. This work of art is a strong five out of five. This album was intricately pieced together from the music itself to the message behind it.

Tracks you should listen to include: “Cranes in the Sky”, “Mad” (featuring Lil’ Wayne), “Don’t Touch My Hair” (featuring Sampha) “Where Do We Go” and “Weary”.

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One Response to “Music review: Taking a seat at the table with Solange”

  1. i love the track “MAD” with lilwayne
    its a hit

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