Solange’s ‘When I Get Home’ album released

A glimpse into the audio-visual project


Photo by Daily Collegian

By Shane Kelly, Collegian Correspondent

After a surprise set of video teasers on her Instagram account, Solange Knowles blessed us with the release of her 19-track studio album: “When I Get Home.”With the intended release time of midnight on March 1 – the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month –  the R&B singer sent a message of identity and pride before the audience even heard the first note.

Solange’s discography intrinsically lends itself to being political. With her 2016 critically-acclaimed third album, “A Seat At The Table,” she openly engaged in political discourse around her identity as a Black American. Songs like “Weary” showed us the hesitation that she has with her surroundings as a Black woman. “F.U.B.U.”circled the way Black Americans have historically created a universal culture that is so often appropriated, singing, “made this song to make it all y’all’s turn, for us, this s— is for us, sometimes we don’t trust.” “Don’t Touch My Hair” served as a reminder to white people of the importance of manners and respect and how that coincides with personal space and microaggressions.

In typical Solange fashion, “When I Get Home” brilliantly serves as a powerful work of art and as an expression of her truth and identity. The album meticulously incorporates multiple interludes between the main tracks, emphasizing a story and a powerful feeling of place and presence throughout the entirety of the work. “When I Get Home” is certainly not an album anyone would want to make the mistake of listening to on shuffle.

The album begins with “Things I Imagined.” The song starts with a rubato duet between Solange and a piano. The ballad encapsulates classic elements like guitar, bass and piano and mixes in dynamic harmonies and ominous, futuristic beats. The album then progresses to its first interlude, “S McGregor” and the interlude introduces the next standout track, “Down With the Clique.” A repeating piano melody floats over consistent drumming, which welcomes Solange’s ethereal voice to ride the waves of the instrumental. Her writing contrasts previous projects of hers by having repetitive choruses that drill in the motifs that she wants to get across. Following that is “Way to the Show.” The track again couples simple instrumentation with tight harmonies and alternative beats.

“Can I Hold the Mic” is aninterlude that features spoken word by Solange, stating, “I can’t be a singular expression of myself. There’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers, so many.” A guitar follows the exact timing of each word that comes out of her mouth. The repetition in her writing is seen here again, representing the different manifestations that she’s speaking. The following track, “Stay Flo,”brings in a more up-tempo drum beat and more powerful vocals than the head voice showcased in the previous half of the album.

Some other tracks stand out from the vibe of the majority of the album. “Almeda” introduces hip-hop elements to the album. Playboi Carti joins this track with his vocals, accompanied by Pharrell’s production. On her track “Time (is)” we are reintroduced to the beauty that is a Solange and Sampha, a UK-based singer/songwriter, collaboration. In “A Seat at the Table,”Sampha collaborated on the single “Don’t Touch My Hair.” Throughout the album we see collaborations with Tyler the Creator, Gucci Mane, Cassie, Metro Boomin, The-Dream, Scarface, Abra, Steve Lacy and Panda Bear.

The 11th track, “My Skin My Logo,”is blowing up social media as another standout for the album. The walking bassline and rhythmic percussion is indicative of the Steve Lacy and Tyler The Creator style of producing. Gucci and Tyler’s vocal additions create a dynamic piece of work that even further elevates the quality of work that is this album.

All in all, Solange has yet again delivered an album that cements her as being in a league of her own artistically. In addition to the entire album being available on all streaming services, Apple Music has released Solange’s visual accompaniment exclusively on their platform.

Shane Kelly can be reached at [email protected]