Music and Movie Reviews | March 14th, 2019
Solange – ‘When I Get Home’ Album Review
By: Kwame Manu
Singer-songwriter and producer Solange was relatively quiet for almost three years after her 2016 release, A Seat at the Table, an album as bold and anthemic as it is soft and layered. Her last album was a celebration and introspective look into black expression and issues. With her fourth album, When I Get Home, the Texas-born creative returns to the spotlight paying homage to another close aspect of her life – Houston.
When I Get Home is an album that encompasses many aspects of Houston culture. Song by song, the album creatively finds different ways to pay homage to the city, whether it be through street references or in the composition. Like her previous album, Solange maintains to use her soft-spoken jazz and soul styles as the backbone for the instrumentals. This time, she seams elements of chopped and screwed music into the music. Songs like “Down with the Clique” slowly creep into the ears then stutter from a chopped four count while songs like “Almeda” sound syrupy and intoxicating.
Solange also uses the album to tip her hat to the current repetitive style of hip-hop. Instead of only repeating lyrics to merely fill space, Solange repeats many refrains as chants of affirmation. With only one line, songs like “Dreams” and “Things I Imagined” show Solange marveling in the power of speaking things into existence.
Compared to her last project, Get Home is a less urgent album. Solange focused A Seat at the Table to discuss a myriad of black issues including gentrification, self-care, hair and more. Still championing black culture, this album is an ode to the people, places and experiences she witnessed growing up. “Stay Flo” is a song that hints imagery of the Houston strip club scene. “Man get down and they putting on a show / Girls getting down every day / Working out of town on the floor,” sings Solange. Many of the songs barely extend over three minutes, instead focusing on the atmosphere of many tracks.
Fans of her last album may be turned off from the slight curve in direction of Get Home. However, the album shows that Solange works best in her own head space, ignoring expectations. Solange keeps finding way to experiment in her art form and continue to surprise listeners. Get Home shows that Solange is still one of the most interesting artists in contemporary R&B/neo-soul.