On Solange's new album, Going Home is Political


Surprise and pleasure About two and a half years later Solange's last record remains, largely unaltered. When A seat at the table Abandoned in September 2016, America was about to win a decisive election. The result of this election gave us the precise conditions of our current and present moment and added a new texture to an already political record. On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, she appeared at the Peace Ball. Who among us, hearing Solange sing wearily: "I have enough to be angry," does not feel resignedly and does not think, in the succinct language of the Internet, "the same"? There was the joyous parody of "do not touch my hair" from t-shirts to Instagram legends; the lyrics "I've tried to get away from the problem / But that made me even sadder" from "Cranes in the Sky" describes the millennial exhaustion at the limit. After a good year in the category (she had already faced Rihanna's Needed Me!), Cranes won the Grammy Award for Best R & B Show.

Since the end of 2016, Solange has been carrying out a series of slight reinventions in which she has explicitly expanded her interest and attention to art in general, and to black artists such as Mickalene Thomas and Arthur Jafa in particular. As a performer, Solange claimed space and time in revered places: she debuted with "Scales" at the Menil Collection in her hometown of Houston, before taking her to Pérez Art Museum of Miami. She appeared at the Guggenheim with many black artists to perform "An Ode To", then returned to Texas to present "Scales" as a specific work at the Chinati Collection of Marfa. At the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, she created an interdisciplinary work entitled "Metatronia". In London, she exhibited "Seventy States" at the Tate Modern, exploring black femininity, inspired by the art of Betye Saar. In 2018, the Harvard Foundation named it "Artist of the Year."

For the past two years, she has collaborated, marked, written, choreographed, sculpted and performed.

During this period, Solange was also conservative of a very specific black aesthetic: a black ambassador who was not so interested in diplomacy. In this form – suitable for the person behind the words "Do not touch my crown / They say the vision I've found" – the hair has become more than what grows. She has collaborated with artists like Shani Crowe, Jawara and Chuckie Amos to create looks that encourage deeper reading. There was a braided blonde halo that Evening Standard magazine had mistakenly hidden (and had apologized after a warning – "dtmh" – from Solange). There was the other halo, worn for its beginnings Saturday Night Live in a show mixing choreography of groups of girls from the 60s and celestial majesty. And on the red carpet Met Ball 2018, yet another halo, this time delicately placed on the black base as a hell of a durag. The night ended with her wearing a custom flowing costume with "MY GOD GOT ​​A DURAG" in a font better described by Sylvia Obell, host of BuzzFeed's. Hella OpinionsasTimes Thug Life Roman. "

"Because her mom wants to make him proud / Oh, to be us," she sang on "FUBU" and whether it was red, blonde, black or brown, with beads and braids and cleverly curly, Solange wore her black , in her hair, and everywhere. She directed the video for "The Weekend" of SZA. She directed a campaign for Calvin Klein, which included musician friends Dev Hynes and Kelela. it was called "our family".

Despite all this content of Solange, there was no new music. We were restless, even those of us in the fringe of "respect of the process". And then, a little over two years later A seat at the table, came an interview, new photos and a promise. This promise came true during the last days of black history's uselessly busy month – a rebirth of BlackPlanet (the best-known reference in pop culture on Kanye West's "Get 'Em High"), new images, video clips and even a phone number with a Houston area code on Instagram. And then more: a title, a cover image, a list of suspected tracks and a time for deletion: When I come back home, midnight the last day of the month of black history. Here to save us, in a small way. Pleasure ripped from the jaws of despair.

This is not a criticism. The sound and the exact sensation of the mouth When I come back home must still be ruminated. The songs are brief, sometimes ending at the point where you want them to fly – the longest song lasts less than four minutes. Everything is still likely to change, but at present, the most common situations are: "Dreams" ("I grew up / A little girl with dreams"), which is appropriate .. .dreamer. "Almeda", who strikes the album midway with Solange singing gluttonous nonsense about brown liquor, brown skin, brown sugar, black molasses, as well as black faith that "still can not be washed away, even in these flood waters. "On" My skin, my logo ", the singer begins to slow down and by registering her voice in a deeper and more playful register (" Gucci fly / Gucci has this eye "). an ideal partner for guest star Gucci Mane, before evolving into exhilarated breathing, on the hardest piece of the album, "Sound of Rain", Solange is joined in production by Pharrell and John Key. powerful and catchy that encourages you to say that you really want to say goodbye to his encouragement.

Whatever the breathtaking and thoughtful reviews will tell us, we know When I come back home is alive with culture. All his interests, from visual arts to Internet culture, through the cycle of the news, were taken into account for the creation and the promotion of this disc. The woman who was a supplier of the Texas-style "black yeehaw agenda" (with her sister) before her fellow Texan Bri Malandro so succinctly named, is here. When I come back home is proud of guests of an incredible caliber, who appear on songs bearing names of parts of his hometown – "S McGregor", "Binz", "Almeda" – and weave skillfully samples of 39 cultural icons, stars and quirks of black American culture. Theater sisters Phylicia Rashād and Debbie Allen, as well as Crime Mob's Princess and Diamond, appear on interludes, just like the former public television personality. Alexyss K. Tylor. About "Binz", Solange says with a light and bold voice that she "just wants to get up at PC time". There is every reason to believe that those who have to buy what it offers will do it very well and that everyone else will have to read explanatory articles. But it will not be Solange's job.

About the album's second interlude, "Can I hold the microphone?" Solange tells us, "I can not be a singular expression of myself. There are too many parties, too many spaces, too many manifestations. "The rejection of the self-singing phrase has given so much richness in the intervening years between its last two records. And now, on When I come back home, with its multiple interludes that function as a brief glimpse of what Solange is fascinated by in the present moment, the many agreements of her concerns are present and correct. She simply continues her work as a vector of multiple identities and experiences. As the eighth track says: "Do not do anything without intent."

The first – and the second and the third – listen, When I come back home It's not a perfect record. It is however a continuation of the ideas on A seat at the table: find and make room to think about what our present moment means. Even on the surface of names, When I come back home seems more comfortable than A seat at the table: References to the hometown cement the idea that staff is political. On "Almeda" she rhymes "black molasses" with "black buries the masses" and lyrical lyrics with the hard hand seem quite right for our senses and our time exacerbated.

It's never more explicit than when you listen to the songs she opens and closes When I come back home with. On "Things I Imagined," the mood of the lyrics is a possibility: "I've seen things that I've imagined" reads as a reminder that things can (should?) Be different . Closer to "I am a witness", Solange is a ship that bears the responsibility: "And I will not stop / as long as I do not understand / good night," she sings. You can not always do things right, but Solange is trying and she will not stop. ●

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