Solange never arrived ‘home’ with new music

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Solange never arrived ‘home’ with new music

Ethan Dennis, [email protected]

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Maybe Solange should have taken her last album’s title as advice and taken a seat at a table because her newest work struggles to impress.

Her third album, “A Seat at the Table,” was a huge success and had many people anticipating her fourth studio album, “When I Get Home,” but I don’t believe the hype was met with a quality product. 

Perhaps the title, “When I Get Home,” is perfect because the 19 tracks feel like this musical journey will last as long as Odysseus’ trip in the “Odyssey.”

Much like Odysseus’ trip, the album had a very stop-and-go approach despite some tracks flowing into one another.

The track list consists of hits and misses mixed with five interludes and an intermission which are all wrapped in a jazz chord bow to make it seem fresh.

But overall, the album feels like a bunch of samples and unfinished demos rather than full tracks.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a groove to the music, but with grooves come ruts, and the album felt like a giant rut in the “Solange sound.”

The album struggles to push forward and relishes in the same chords. This makes me wonder: Will Solange ever get home?

Motifs in music are good, but repetition can be detrimental, especially when things don’t fully evolve.

I will say that the album is relatively consistent with its electropunk and R&B sound, spirituality and references to Solange’s view of home which is Houston, Texas.

Solange references the American South in track four, “Way to the Show” when she mentions candy paint, a transparent coating applied over a reflective base coat of paint on a car that is popular in the South.

Track nine, “Almeda,” refers to an area in Houston and the lyrics, “Black faith still can’t be washed away; not even in that Florida water” refer to a cologne that is said to have spiritual and healing effects. It has become popular in the voodoo religion which is a mix Yoruba faith and Catholicism and also in hoodoo practices that come from West Africa.

Both of these are also staples of the South which is Solange’s home. This track also establishes roots or a home within herself and her identity by listing traits unique to black people like their complexion and braids.

Overall, I feel like the connection with the tracks was at times lost and confusing.

The redeeming quality for this album is track 16, “Exit Scott (interlude)” which samples a poem by a black, lesbian feminist poet and activist named Pat Parker.

It’s no wonder it took the album two weeks to even show up on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts.