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Review: Standing Ovation for Solange’s “A Seat at the Table”

By Jaylin Paschal, Culture Staff Writer
Posted 10:35 PM EST, Thurs., Oct. 6, 2016

Singer-songwriter Solange Knowles released her long-awaited LP, “A Seat at the Table,” Friday, September 30. Exploring socio-political issues regarding race and gender in songs like “Weary,” “Mad,” “Don’t Touch My Hair,” “Where Do We Go,” and “F.U.B.U.,” it’s safe to say that this album is for the culture.

Album cover for Solange Knowles' latest album "A Seat at the Table," released on September 30, 2016. (Courtesy Photo)

Album cover for Solange Knowles’ latest album “A Seat at the Table,” released on September 30, 2016. (Courtesy Photo)

Interludes of spliced-in, anecdotal audio clips from legendary rapper Master P and Knowles’ parents, Matthew Knowles and Tina Lawson, were weaved into a heavy bassline that carried from track to track, mostly in thanks to the work of producer Raphael Saadiq. Knowles collaborated with a dynamic assortment, including Lil Wayne, Sampha, The-Dream, BJ the Chicago Kid, Q-Tip and Kelela, who all kept the music unpredictable and intriguing.

Laying the foundation for these incredible collaborations was Knowles herself, as she wrote, arranged and co-produced every song on the 21 track album. It’s evident that Knowles gave this project all the detail oriented love it needed, making this project well worth the wait.

“I started writing #ASeatAtTheTable almost 4 years ago,” Knowles tweeted.

Fans do not wonder where all this time went: “A Seat at the Table” is, in many ways, an evaluation on the current condition of Blackness and womanhood. It explores complex contemporary themes and tackles stereotypes (i.e. the Angry Black Woman) head on, in a way that is raw, intricate and innovative.

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Essentially, the album is a dissertation you can nod your head to, as the songwriting and instrumentals are brilliantly dance-inducing.

With lyrics like “I’m weary with the weight of the world,” this collection of music is one which prompts both observation and introspection, and later, a visceral, emotional return to reality. The album is as intellectual as it is emotional, and could top the charts for weeks to come just so we can all process how deep it is. Works like these prove to stand the test of time; I don’t doubt that years from now we’ll be referring to Knowles’ third studio album as a classic.

Not that we’d expect any less of a Knowles.


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