“A Seat at The Table”: ‘black survival album’

Harold Lopez/Contributing Writer

The third studio album by R&B superstar, Solange Knowles has blown the airwaves out of proportion. “A Seat at the Table” is a “project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief, and healing,” according to Knowles.

This amazing LP is the best R&B album of 2016 in my book. Ironically, “Rise” was the first song written for the album and became the opening track. The drums in the background and Knowles’ soft angelic voice makes it so soothing for the ear, yet, it has an impactful message on being true to oneself.

“Weary” is another favorite from the album, which makes me feel like I am sitting in a jazz club in New York City listening to an underground artist. But, this is Knowles we are talking about, the most underrated artist that needs that mainstream recognition.

The skipping of the bass in “Cranes in the Sky” makes me feel tingling inside. Knowles wrote this track eight years ago and describes her attempt at avoiding painful feelings. While not the first time I’ve heard a Knowles and Lil’ Wayne collaboration, they once again made that magic happen again in “Mad.”

Knowles’s vocals and possibly one of Wayne’s best rap verse is what makes this song the harmonizing R&B track with a slap of hip-hop. I flew back in time to the ‘80s when I was listening to “Don’t You Wait” where Knowles flicks critics off on wanting her to write typical songs about love and heartbreak.

“Don’t Touch My Hair” is the knock off track of the album about black womanhood and it is just pure beauty. “Don’t touch my hair when it’s the feelings I wear. Don’t touch my soul when it’s the rhythm I know,” the lyrics of a strong woman protecting her identity.

The smashing black empowerment anthem “F.U.B.U.” featuring The-Dream and BJ The Chicago Kid can go down in black history. The horns and the lyrics is what makes this song great and soulful, especially in the age that we are living today.

I got a touch of disco sound on “Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)” featuring Q-Tip which adds a sprinkle of Tip’s voice during the verses. We are going to funky town in the punk track, “Junie” with Andre 3000 shouting “jump on it!”

The piano in the background playing gives me that soulful Stevie Wonder vibes and I am head over heels. I definitely related to “Don’t Wish Me Well” as Knowles sings about growing from mistakes and moving on in life.

A true hidden gem as Knowles sends me to heaven with the soft touch of the noise that comes from her mouth. Kelela joins Knowles in “Scales” in the ending of the album, I got the message of self-worth where Knowles sings, “ain’t no apologizing, for all the things you want.”

So if dreams only go so far they’ll come to where you are.” Knowles may have written the best album of her entire career and in a time of need, Knowles shows us that music is not just about beats and fun lyrics, it is a creation, an art.

This is a black survival album and it is beautiful. Knowles proves that she is an artist and does not have to meet anyone’s expectations but her own.

Music Matters is a weekly music column that covers pop, rock and alternative music releases.


Photo retrieved from Flickr

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