Both Solange and her rather famous sister Beyoncé have released albums this year that have dealt with extremely divisive political issues. Where Beyoncé’s frustration came out as a roar on Lemonade, A Seat at the Table’s ‘Weary’ phrases it as a whispered, desperate lament.
However, subtlety doesn’t come at the expense of nuance or depth. ‘Cranes in the Sky’ is stark in its honesty, and even the album’s interludes are striking. ‘Dad Was Mad’ is only 46 seconds song, but it’s an unapologetic insight into the anger black Americans feel at the inexplicable discrimination they face. ‘Tina Taught Me’ dismisses egalitarianism, and makes no apologies of its support for pro-blackness and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Similarly, one of the record’s highlights, ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, doesn’t shy away from its attack on appropriation, arguing for the emotional significance of black culture.
Given that this album has been in the works for 8 years, it’s unsurprising that it dips into various genres. It’s ultimately an R&B/soul record, but with elements of funk and synth (particularly on the opening ‘Rise’), it’s a record that will divert expectations.
Famous sister aside, Solange has proved herself to be no Dannii Minogue – she’s become a shining star entirely in her own right with this album, truly stepping out of her older sister’s shadow.