[Album Review] Solange – “A Seat at the Table”

 

 

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Singer/songwriter Solange released her third studio album, A Seat at the Table digitally on September 30th. The physical album was released on November 18th. So many talented collaborators credited on the album. Raphael Saadiq, Questlove, Q-Tip, Sampha, BJ the Chicago Kid, Kelly Rowland, Tweet, and so many more. The album is majority produced, arranged, and written by the singer. As well as the entirety of the creative direction.

 

 

“Rise” is a great intro into the album. The song is produced by Raphael Saadiq, Questlove, and Majical Cloudz. Great harmonies, and very simplistic piano melody. The synchronization of the bass line, high hat, and kick drum highlight the production. “Weary” is giving very tribal rhythms, and has a steady bass pocket. Master P is narrating through most of the interludes on this album. “Interlude: The Glory is in You” is giving wisdom about having a reflection of peace to whatever you aspire to be. You determine your own happiness, because the glory is in you to be great. The transition from “Cranes in the Sky” is brilliant, because the song’s structure is talking about the frustrations falling in the lines of an angry state. In which, that flows well into “Interlude: Dad was Mad”. Her father (Matthew Knowles) expressing his anger of the racism he experienced at an early age. “Mad” features rapper Lil’ Wayne. She is expressing raw emotions of the anger lyrically, but yet with a soft approach vocally. The harmonies are stacked, and hypnotizing. Didn’t even need to see the credits to recognize Tweet’s contribution to this song. “Don’t You Wait” is very vibrant, electronic, 80’s styled production. “Interlude: Tina Taught Me” gives you great perspective into “Don’t Touch My Hair”. It features her mother Tina Knowles-Lawson expressing how she embraced her blackness, and the entirety of what it means to take pride in who you are. Also, the ridiculousness of the phrase “reverse racism”—and that pro-black doesn’t mean “anti-white”.

 

Master P on “Interlude: This Moment” is explaining in theory how we should unify in the black community, because there’s a system that looks at black community as just for profit. “Where Do We Go” is very pleasing to the ears. That bass line, and kick drum are indescribably perfect. The “Interlude: For Us By Us” Master P is talking about knowing his worth as a label owner of No Limit Records, and fighting for the integrity of his work. Taking all of that anger to his music, in which this interlude transitions perfectly to “F.U.B.U.” The song features BJ the Chicago Kid and The Dream. This song is just simply resonating. Basically, this shit is just for “us”. It’s quite simple. “Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)”. The song is produced by Q-Tip. It’s a mid-tempo production. A very potent melody, active bass line, and uplifting energy. “Interlude: I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It”. are harmonies between Solange, Kelly Rowland, and Nia Andrews. “Junie” is simply an ode to the legend Junie Morrison of the Parliament-Funkadelic. Rapper Andre 3000 vocals are featured as well.  “Interlude: No Limits”, Master P is breaking down how he came up with the name for “No Limit”. Who would’ve known he was inspired by a neighborhood Avalon lady? Interesting.

 

“Don’t Wish Me Well” is very flowing, and soothing production. “Interlude: Pedestals” Master P explains how certain people put others on pedestals, and are ruled by perception. “Scales” features artist Kelela. This song should be described as abstract art, because it seems like it’s left to your own interpretation of what it means. The album ends with “Closing: The Chosen Ones”. Black people had to endure the most evil, and wickedness of an oppressive system for centuries. Even with the hardships, and trauma of it all. We are still the chosen ones who could endure it all, because that’s the magic in us.

 

 

The depth of Solange tuning into her own feelings, and creatively making that significant to each song is profound. This album is pretty much straight forward, and blatant about the message. The genius of it though, is this beautiful contrast of her expressing hurt and anger of the mistreatment of black culture/identity lyrically, and then finesses it in a very soft Minnie Ripperton kind of tone.  On the surface it is a definite ode to her parents, and New Orleans. Can we just applaud how great the interludes perfectly told the story of each song? Shout outs to Master P for dropping a week’s worth of gems. He definitely needs his own appreciation reverence. The lyrics, instrumentation, vocals, and harmonies displayed on this album are immaculate. Thank you Solange for taking our hearts and souls to ascension.

 

 

A Seat at the Table is in stores now; it is available for purchase on all digital outlets. The vinyl release is on December 9th.