When I Get Home Review

11:10 AM

Image result for when i get home solange
As I begin to write this article, it has only been seventeen minutes since Solange’s album When I Get Home dropped. 

By politics editor, Cameron Price

So far today, I have listened to two songs from it. 

I am beyond amazed at the artful gems that I have already heard. Solange’s songs are incredibly gentle. The softness of her voice in the songs masterfully mix with the lightness of the instruments accompanying it. Solange’s music almost puts her in her own genre, one which is difficult to define.

So far, I have listened to Things I Imagined, S McGregor (interlude), Down With the Clique, Way to the Show, Can I Hold the Mic (interlude), Stay Flo, and Dreams. Dreams has to be my favorite of the songs so far, with its soft, charming tone and the beautiful simplicity of its lyrics. 

Solange’s work continues to have the pretty sound that her previous album, A Seat at the Table, had, but it is still incredibly different. Her voice perfectly blends in with the jazzy R&B backing tracks of the songs. The lyrics are nothing short of poetry. The album is truly an experience, an event that I recommend listening to at least one time without any breaks or distractions. 

Solange has stated in the past that her music, in general, is largely influenced by Motown and that this album is influenced by Aaliyah-- both of which are completely obvious. While her music keeps with those sounds, she also creates her own distinct voice and style. Her album is a reinvention of styles born within the Black community.

(Update: I have now listened to Nothing Without Intention (interlude), Almeda, Time (is), My Skin My Logo, We Deal With the Freak’n (interlude), and Jerrod.)

Almeda is a celebration of Blackness and a song telling the resilience of Black Americans. The title of the song is a reference to where Solange grew up. Throughout the song, Solange repeats the lyrics:

   Brown liquor

   Brown sugar, brown face

   Brown liquor

   Brown sugar, brown braids

   Black skin

   Black Benz, black plays

   Black molasses, blackberry the masses 

The track is upbeat but still stays in the album’s theme of smooth and gentle music. In the song, Solange sings These are black-owned things/Black faith still can't be washed away. As Solange said in an interview with The Guardian, “Blackness with never go away.” Almeda is a testimony of this. 

Almeda reminds me of Blk Girl Soldier by Jamila Woods, another song which celebrates Blackness, specifically Black womanhood, in a similarly soft R&B tone. 

My Skin My Logo serves as another celebration of Blackness-- including the artists singing the song themselves, Solange and Gucci Mane. Solange uses the nickname ‘Gucci’ to describe the featured artist, while the latter affectionately calls her ‘Solo’. They use the song to celebrate one another. It has a spoken word-like sound to it, like the stylings of Gil Scott-Heron; who Solange cites as another inspiration.

Update: I have now listened to the album in its entirety.

Binz is one of my favorite songs on When I Get Home. It is the story of someone who wants to be rich. The narrator wants YSL, a Rolls Royce, and money, among other things. In the song, Solange reclaims the term ‘CP Time’-- a derogatory term meaning ‘Colored People’s Time’ that was coined by racists to describe a negative stereotype of Black people being late-- by stating that she “just want[s] to wake up on CP time.” The song is a perfect track for summer. 

When I Get Home seems almost apolitical at first glance, but the lyrics and stylings alone are deeply radical. Solange does not shy away from honoring Blackness and Black resilience, as her entire album brings up these as recurring themes. It is a celebration of Black life and Black art. While Solange’s work is emblematic of her influences, she creates her own specific sound. Her album is something that should not be taken lightly but should be recognized as the masterpiece it is. Solange’s work is pure artistry. 

Her album is made up of six parts, each section separated by an interlude. Each interlude includes work sampled from various sources, poets, solo artists, bands, films, and more, with almost all black creators. The work all seamlessly flows together, but no section or song sound alike. Solange has mastered her craft and the album is truly brilliant. 

When I Get Home can and should be listened to by anyone. It is able to be appreciated by those with any genre preference, as her work transcends them all.

To listen to When I Get Home, click here.

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