Showing posts with label solange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label solange. Show all posts

Saturday, March 9, 2019

video review: 'when i get home' by solange

So this happened... I wish I had liked this more, but I do think I grasped it.

Next up... hmm, I've got some ideas, so we'll see - stay tuned!

Friday, March 8, 2019

album review: 'when i get home' by solange

So I'm going to start this review with two neutral statements that nevertheless are bound to be controversial. The first is this: we primarily experience art emotionally - we might analyze or come to appreciate something intellectually later, but ultimately if we're giving an honest opinion on what moves us and what we'll revisit, it's emotional. And to follow that, #2: when the statement is made, 'it's not for you', that's a statement presumably made to speak to the emotional, lived-in experiences that is assumed to be held by someone who likes the art and how said experiences probably aren't held by someone for whom the art isn't clicking.

So why mention any of this? Well, it has to do with the larger discourse around Solange's critical acclaim in the past couple of years, especially surrounding her breakthough A Seat At The Table, a project I liked and understood but didn't love. And I even said in that review that it's not for me - I can certainly respect its appeal and thoughtfulness and I understand the text and subtext on display, but I was very much aware that it was marketed at an audience to which I don't belong. And let me stress this: that's fine! There's absolutely a place and market for that, and while I might make the argument the most powerful art can transcend emotive boundaries should it be heard by everyone, I'm also aware of the material that resonates most with me won't be to the tastes of everyone: that's why my favourite albums of the past five years have spanned an indie country compilation, a pop rock opera, multiple underground hip-hop tapes, and a twisted slice of jazzy adult-alternative blended with goth rock! 

Now where I take the most issue with the whole 'it's not for you' statement is when it's used as a defense mechanism to shield a project from criticism of the text or subtext, which of course hits the blurry line of whether the person understands it and that art is subject to multiple interpretations, but that's a conversation of nuance and detail, not defense. And with A Seat At The Table, it didn't really come up, mostly because the album was critically acclaimed across the board - more degrees of quality being disputed if anything. But the conversation surrounding the surprise release When I Get Home has been more mixed, and outside of the outlets that have a mandate to support it, I've seen the 'it's not for you' argument pushed more as a deflection surrounding the project's quality, coupled with the presumed lack of understanding. To me that was alarming, so I did proceed with both caution and curiosity into this listen... so what did I find?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 22, 2016 (VIDEO)

Look, I don't need to say anything with this one beyond HOLY SHIT FALSE ALARM IS AWESOME and you all need to be listening it - okay, I'll stop.

On a different note, we've got Epica, Opeth, OneRepublic, and Daya on the way, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 22, 2016

So here's the other thing about the last weeks of a Billboard year - more than ever, it becomes a game of timing if you're looking to land a song on the year end list. Release the song early enough and it's no issue, but unless you've got a guaranteed smash hit heading for an inevitable #1, it might actually serve you better to release your songs a little later - keep in mind that most tracks will only ever stick around for twenty weeks on the charts, and the last thing you want is to release a track where midway through its lifespan the year shifts and you're only left with a portion of that time to rack up the accumulated sales, streaming, and airplay to get on the next year's list.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

video review: 'a seat at the table' by solange

I feel like this review shouldn't end up being controversial... but who knows, anything peripheral to Beyonce tends to make people flip their shit, so we'll see what happens. Still, thought-provoking album, and there really are some gems here.

Next up, though, something much more in my lane - stay tuned!

album review: 'a seat at the table' by solange

I wasn't planning on reviewing this album.

Part of this was my schedule - my stack of albums to cover over the next few weeks has reached a frankly staggering height, and there are records I've had to cross off my list purely out of necessity or delay until the very end of the year where I typically do some catch-up. And even then, there were going to be albums on which I was generally ambivalent or didn't show the sort of evolution to make a review worthwhile that I'd probably set aside.

And for the most part I was intending to do this for the newest record from Solange Knowles, the younger sister of Beyonce and an artist for whom I've been pretty lukewarm at best. Part of this is historical context: her debut album Solo Star in 2002 was a slice of underwhelming hip-hop-inspired R&B in an era where that was the norm, and when she followed it in 2008 with a generally tasteful retro-throwback record on Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams... well, it was definitely good, but it wasn't a record that I often felt inclined to revisit. It was pleasant enough, the lyrics were interesting, and I appreciated that Solange was generally making more subtle and listenable music than her sister was in the 2000s, but I was never gripped by it. I don't think she was helped by Janelle Monae coming in a few years later with a similar vocal style and yet more impressive production, writing, ideas, and charisma across the board. And from there... well, I didn't really hear much from her.

But it became very clear that just because I wasn't listening doesn't mean Solange wasn't working on projects, first with an EP cowritten with Dev Hynes in 2012, and now this, which has won over volumes of critical acclaim from some unexpected sources and spurred a tidal wave of requests. And hey, eight years is a pretty impressive distance between records and if this record was socially conscious and potent as suggested, it could make for a powerful listen. So I decided to check out A Seat At The Table - what did we get?