It’s been four years since Solange released dream-like extended play, True, which was an immediate critical success and propelled her image of soulful synth pop star even further. Songs from that EP such as, “Losing You” and “Lovers in the Parking Lot,” evoke so many different layers of emotion and deeper subject matter than those on her previous LP Sol-Angel and the Hadley St Dreams which were a little more radio-friendly.
Her transition from 2012’s True to 2016’s A Seat at the Table is effortless and consistent. It continues the same kind of slow tempo soft-sounding synth pop of the former but pushes even more boundaries.
The subject matter is completely different. Instead of detailing romance, Solange paints a picture of her life, and the struggles of being a black woman. Songs like “F.U.B.U” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” are more up front about their declaration of black pride. I particularly appreciate the lyrical content of “F.U.B.U” for the way it announces that this music (and other aspects of culture) are for the black community and by the black community. Her ability to express aspects of her life through her songwriting is very important and can sometimes go unmentioned in other artists’ music. In “Mad” she explains the anger and patronizing she experiences which is the concept behind the album, but ironically express how she is tired of doing so.
“I ran into this girl, I said ‘I’m tired of explaining.’
Man, this shit is draining
But I’m not really allowed to be mad”
The album takes you on an entire journey and a personal story that Solange wants to share with listeners. She uses interludes, which some might not really enjoy, but I appreciated them because it takes an album from a track list of songs into a work of art. The words spoken during these interludes are very moving and I recommend not skipping over them. Solange chose to include them for a reason.
Other songs further her message, but also just sound amazing. The entire album is a mood-lifter and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a good time. Songs that really encapsulate this are “Junie” and “Rise.” A Seat at the Table’s characteristics include funk, gospel, synth pop, all with an ethereal feel and dreamy vibe that is specific to Solange.
Not to mention the features on this album are insane.
Solange has BJ The Chicago Kid, Kelly Rowland, and Lil Wayne just to name a few.
A Seat at the Table sonically continues where True left off, not causing too much of a shock for listeners, but she’s definitely matured. I appreciate the efforts she makes on this album, and I hope it reaches a lot of young listeners.