We remember her from her role as Camille in “Bring it on: All or Nothing.” We recall her 2008 full length album “Sol-Angel,” or even her 2012 EP “ True.” However, after her latest release we’ll certainly remember Solange Knowles for her 2016 album titled “A Seat at the Table.”
Living in the shadow of he older sister Beyonce, Knowles’ impressive ability to still make a name for herself is nothing short of amazing. Her journey as a songwriter has taken her through experimenting with styles and this time she absolutely nailed it.
While taking five years off from her solo career, Knowles stayed busy. She got married, had a child, moved to Idaho, got a divorce and wrote songs for her sister. Now, she’s back in action and finally let us in on what she’s had in store for the past couple of years.
On June 24 of this year, her thirtieth birthday, Knowles celebrated by announcing on Instagram that she had completed her newest album.
With 21 tracks, Knowles gives us is a soul charged collection of R&B songs that clearly address the issues facing the black community today, and confronts the harsh reality that is right in front of our eyes.
Blunt yet poetic, this album is pleasing to listen to and comes with a purpose. It’s truly a gift, and we have Knowles to thank for it. “A Seat at the Table” demonstrates the struggle and survival of black women today, putting it in a musical dialogue we cannot ignore.
The light beat and soulful instrumentals really make this an album you can play all the way through and not have to worry about skipping any songs. The same mellow beats continue throughout the album, blending together in the most pleasant way.
It’s not only is a pleasure to listen to, but the message of empowerment and strength bring on a whole range of emotions that add on another layer to each song while you’re listening. Anger, sadness, hope and fear.
In her song “Tina Taught Me,” the track starts with her mother Tina Knowles tearing apart the “white lives matter” rhetoric. Incorporating members of her family deepens the connection the listener has to Knowles and her loved ones, making the dialogue so much more real. It also signifies the importance of the album as a sort of release for Knowles getting her emotions out through her art.
Her song “Rise” repeats the lyrics “Fall in your ways, so you can crumble/ Fall in your ways, so you can sleep at night/ Fall in your ways, so you can wake up and rise.”
Such simple lyrics but with a powerful message about rising above all of the pain, despair and pride. Knowles told audiences at an HBO event in May of last year that she wrote the song “for Ferguson, for Baltimore,” referencing the deaths of of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.
The album was co-executive produced by Knowles and Raphael Saadiq. While listening to the album, you may recognize some familiar voices. Artists featured on the album include: Lil Wayne, The-Dream, Kelly Rowland, Q-Tip, Dev Hynes, Sampha, Kelela, Nia Andrews and BJ the Chicago Kid.
“A Seat at the Table” is a true work of art. It’s an intense, yet beautiful glimpse of Knowles’ inner thoughts, and a look into what she values the most. We cannot be anything but grateful for her work, and how she lets us into her intimate world.