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SOLANGE: Sol-Angel and The Hadley St. Dreams

 

One divorce and adorable son later, Solange returns to the music scene. Although we all knew her as Beyonce’s little sister, she officially burst onto the music scene at 16 with the release of her debut album, Solo Star. Featuring a melting pot of genres - including R&B, reggae and even Country – it didn’t sit well with the masses. On the tail heels of pop sensation Beyonce such a response comes to no surprise. One could cohesion was missing with her first effort. Still her first single, "Feeling You," featuring Noreaga, was strong enough that all hope wasn’t lost on this one. So after several years of hard life experience should we expect Sol-angel and The Hadley St. Dreams to fair better?

 

Sol-Angel starts with a rather telling into via “God Given Name.” While this groovy, psychedelic track will never see the daylight of radio, it gives you a feel of the other Knowles sister:

 

“Get me, get me, out of this box
I feel so claustrophobic in here
Leave your labels, leave with no vision
Hear my voice and feel with yo ears”

 

In layman’s words – don’t compare me to my pop sensation sister.   Hey, I can respect that. Luckily Solange gets off her soapbox long enough to give us some good music on “T.O.N.Y.” – a tale of a failed booty call. What’s really cute about this song is that “T.O.N.Y.” is a clever acronym that’s revealed in the hook. And no…I’m not going to tell you what it is. Following suit in a 60s inspired fashion are “Dancing in the Dark” and “Would’ve Been the One.” The first single, “I Decided,” could've been an out-take from a Supremes recording session with its doo-wop melody and hand-clap percussion. Still the gem of the album is "I Told You So," a soulful joint belying its cynicism in a presently-happy relationship:

 

“I know you think you love me
But love ain't never stopped nobody
From creeping around every once in a while
When things start to settle down
And so I won't look like a clown
I' m a call it now
I told you so”

 

Despite the gems, not every track on the album is a winner. “Cosmic Journey” featuring Bilal is plum painful. Bilal simply ruins this track vocally and takes this album out of its soulful element. Meanwhile “Ode to Marvin” – a rather self-explanatory track - falls short of its predecessor. Made in the vein of “What’s Going On,” it lacks the punch to be relevant. 

 

Missteps aside, this ain’t Beyonce. And quite frankly that’s not a bad thing. I like Solange’s style. Sol-Angel is heavily 60s/ 70s influenced album. She takes risks and most of the time, they pay off. I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely worth checking out.

 

 



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