On March 1, Solange Piaget Knowles released her fourth studio album, “When I Get Home.” This is also Knowles’ first album release in three years, succeeding her last album, “A Seat At the Table,” which had received rave reviews from critics. Many of such reviews praised Knowles for her solid execution both vocally and sonically. This review is no exception.
“When I Get Home” features contributions from producers and rappers such as Blood Orange, Playboi Carti, Earl Sweatshirt, Sampha and even Gucci Mane, amongst others. This interesting combination of acts makes for a dreamy and ephemeral listen.
The project is laden with hints of jazz, soul, experimental R&B, trip-hop and psychedelic pop. It is hard to pinpoint any one specific genre on “When I Get Home.”
When asked about the album and her inspirations behind it, Knowles confessed, “After touring the last record, there were a lot of things that were happening to my spirit—things that feel sort of out of control.” That being said, it makes sense that “When I Get Home” has a persisting wistful quality to it.
As a listener, “When I Get Home” feels like a stoic dream; it is emotionally charged, but whimsically nonchalant in the delivery. The production throughout “When I Get Home” is a colorfully bold backdrop over which Knowles croons.
However, Knowles’ soft voice is sleepy at times. It is as if Knowles is trying to put the listener in a trance, a state of mind akin to dreaming while awake.
Knowles takes a spoken word approach to many of the songs on “When I Get Home,” often employing heavy repetition in a rhythmical manner not too different from spoken word. On songs such as “Almeda,” where we hear Solange talk about many things brown, singing “Brown liquor, brown liquor/Brown skin, brown face/ Brown leather, brown sugar/ Brown leaves, brown keys/ Brown freckles,brown face/ These are black owned things.” Or on “My Skin My Logo,” we hear Knowles talk about what Gucci likes to do. Surprisingly enough, Gucci Mane’s appearance on this album is also on this track.
On the song “Dreams,” which features a mellow synth organ, crisp syncopated snares, repetitive lyrics and chillingly smooth and entrancingly delicate vocal harmonies, we hear Knowles reflect on her goals and dreams both as a child and now. “Dreams” captures the essence of “When I Get Home” in that it possesses a fleeting, intangible essence to it.
“When I Get Home” is a project ] about actualizing a feeling, putting more of a focus on sonics than lyrics. It captures and elegantly expresses a wide array of intimate emotions in a way that is transient, transparent, vivid, intentionally repetitive and impalpable.
Say what you want about “When I Get Home,” but with its release, Knowles has established herself as an artist who seeks exploration and experimentation, and will continue to develop in her artistry.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment