This album is a gift from the heavens. I have to start by saying that because since it came out, I have not been able to listen to anything else. Solange has absolutely outdone herself with this new album, and I can easily say I am OBSESSED.
First of all, the album achieves a theatrical element, but without being over the top or doing too much. It features some experimental instrumentals paired with traditional Solange vocals, similar to her vocals on her previous album “A Seat at the Table.” The experimental sounds pair perfectly with her dream-like voice.
Some of the highlights on the album include “Stay Flo,” a song that came into my life, destroyed it, and then repaired into something better than it was before. The smoothness of the song paired with its slightly dance-y rhythm makes it a perfect jam that’s impossible to stay still when listening to. The sensuality of Solange’s voice comes through extra well on this song, and it has some beautiful harmonies. Another highlight on the album is the interludes. I’m personally someone who usually skips interludes, but on this piece I simply could not. The interludes all have some sort of musicality to them and transition seamlessly into the songs after them. They are also interesting and weird in the best way possible.
The next song that caught my attention was “Almeda” where Solange experiments with a sort of rap-singing. the song also features Playboi Carti which makes for an extremely ear-catching collaboration, unlike anything I’ve heard before. The song also lends itself perfectly for creating some sort of choreography and I find myself dancing in my seat whenever I listen to this song. “Almeda” is bouncy but also as smooth as every other song on the album and is completed perfectly by Solange’s runs being quietly added to the background of the song.
Solange slows it down for us nicely with the ballad “Time (is).” It serves as the perfect opportunity for her to show off her absolutely beautiful voice and all the fantastic things she can do with it, and she somehow manages to do it without it feeling forced. The song also features a beautiful piano instrumental with chords that strike your heart every time they’re played. The song is also just one more among the fantastic features on the album, “Time (is)” features Sampha, who elevates the song to another level.
“My Skin My Logo” is an interesting change of mood and sounds similar to a sultry slam poem in the way Solange delivers her lyrics. The song also features Gucci Mane and Tyler, the Creator, just another example of how many talented artists came together to make this album the masterpiece it is. The song also features a switch up in the rhythm towards the last minute of the song which features singing by Solange as well as quiet rapping from Tyler. The beat is also eclectic and builds up to Solange belting some impressive high notes.
Another highlight of the album is the song “Jerrod” which has a tinge of classic 2008 R&B that has been elevated by that touch of Solange sophistication. The song is another sexy ballad on the album, it is romantic with a tinge of pain. Her vocalizations bring the song a level of emotion that reaches deeper than any of the other songs, making this one my personal favorite. That being said, it’s extremely difficult to pick a favorite among an album full of gems. “Jerrod” is followed by “Binz” which is more bubbly and has a tropical feel to it. It’s more fun and silly than some of the other songs on the album and has some funky instrumentals that are hard to place.
The album finishes off powerfully with “I’m a Witness”, which features a beat that seems to be off-tempo and leaves the listener waiting for the beat to come in. Solange does a great job singing over this challenging beat, and it really pays off. The song returns the album to the theatrical feel it started on. It almost feels like a song a fairy godmother would sing to a princess in a broadway musical, except less cheesy.
Overall, the album sounds like the soundtrack to a dream world where only good things happen. The album has a mystical, magical feel to it that I haven’t ever seen be achieved in the way Solange has been able to pull it off. I think this is a one of a kind album that we will be hearing about for a long, long time. Solange has really set the bar high for music in 2019.