in Review

Solange – When I Get Home

Solange probably knew that whatever her latest release was would have to stand in the shadow of 2016’s masterful A Seat At The Table, so you have to respect the fact that she leans into it. From the similar album artwork to the meandering tracklist to the spoken word interludes, it all bears a striking resemblance to her last album. So much so that it feels a bit like a companion to it. And yet, it once again finds an artist so comfortable in her own skin and so willing to abide by her own musical whims, that it’s easy to get lost in the subtle soundscapes she paints without it ever feeling too familiar.

When I Get Home, perhaps more than its predecessor feels like a collection of grooves and vibes, rather than a collection of songs. I know that probably sounds like nonsense, but just look at a song like “Dreams” or the album-opening “Things I Imagined”. They have lyrics, sure. But they’re just the same lyrics repeated over and over again in different ways and with different inflections. Though you almost would never notice it, considering Solange is so good at using her voice in just the right ways over just the right groove in order to keep things from ever getting repetitive.

Another good example of the album’s unique song structures is “Binz”, a song that’s not even two minutes long, and is basically just a really good, unbroken drum beat with some infectiously bouncy vocals over it. This approach maybe doesn’t always make for the most accessible brand of neo-soul, but it definitely leaves you wanting to listen to it over and over again. Because while the overall album is quite good, you also want to listen for those little nuggets of certain songs that work so well on their own, but also in the grand scheme of things.

Some have noted that the album is about Solange’s hometown of Houston, which I suppose would make sense considering there are geographic-sounding song titles like “S McGregor” or “Beltway”. I do often forget that Solange’s more famous sister, Beyonce, is from Houston, considering she’s one of those pop stars who seems like she came from space or something. Solange similarly has that kind of mystique about her, but here she once again shows an innate ability to groove along to more Earthly matters.

Favorite Tracks:Way To The Show” “Dreams” “Binz