With names such as Pharrell Williams, Gucci Mane, Dev Hynes, Steve Lacy and Playboi Carti on the billing, Solange’s fourth album boasts an impressive list of collaborators – a list striking enough to catch most people’s attention. With one track using Tyler, the Creator, Sampha and Panda Bear (from Animal Collective) as backing singers, amongst others, it might be easy to question the album’s self-sufficiency. After just one listen, however, it becomes clear that this is not the case. Knowles has written, executive produced and performed the entire album – something very rarely seen in the music landscape today.
The album is undoubtedly something that should be listened to as a whole, as it shines more as an art piece than a collection of songs. The interludes weave between the tracks, creating a blissful musical mist, perhaps sometimes taking away from the significance of the lyrics that Knowles has written. When I Get Home requires close attention, or else you might just find yourself lost in a sea of jazzy chords, smooth vocals and slow, sporadic rhythms.
‘Almeda’ is certainly a standout. Named after an area in Southwest Houston and drawing on the traditions of her Southern, black roots, Solange demonstrates immense pride in black culture by listing solely African-American attributes. A personal favourite is ‘Binz’, which features The-Dream, as well as Panda Bear. The tune provides light relief from the overall haze of the album, pointing a spotlight on the lyrics and using a faster tempo that might be likened to coming up for air.
Without subsiding to the cliché of comparing successful siblings in the same industry, it is definitely important to note that Solange has established herself as an entirely separate musical entity. When I Get Home only further confirms that, when it comes to their art, she and her sister (Beyonce Knowles) are very much different.