An eclectic, disorienting ride

While Solange's previous album A Seat At The Table (2016) was a celebration of self-worth, her follow-up is a meandering effort.

From the irregular time signatures and key changes of the opening number, Things I Imagined, the American singer sets listeners up for an unabashedly eclectic ride through her current head space by way of R&B and neo-soul stylings.

The almost 40-minute album feels like a collection of disparate pieces that make sense only when viewed as a whole.

However, the eclecticism sometimes borders on challenging.

Songs like My Skin My Logo sound inconclusive and hastily recorded rather than fully formed.

R&B numbers like Way To The Show and Stay Flo explore tricky time signatures, coupled with her laidback delivery and grimy basslines.





    3 stars

But while the tracks build and build, there is no pay-off with a chorus.

It it almost as if Solange is being deliberately disorienting.

There are no immediate standout numbers or sure-fire singles either, like Cranes In The Sky or Don't Touch My Hair, off her popular previous album.

In fact, the two tracks co-produced by Pharrell Williams, Almeda and Sound Of Rain, are the only ones that seem to ground the otherwise spacy effort.

In fact, for all the guest features and production credits on the album, including British producer Dev Hynes, American rapper Playboi Carti and and British singer Sampha, you barely hear their influence.

Solange has gone full concept album and no one is getting in the way of her vision.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2019, with the headline 'An eclectic, disorienting ride'. Print Edition | Subscribe