I’ve never been a fan of Beyonce. I find her generic, repetitive and unoriginal. And, to be honest, I’m probably the only male in the world that finds her unattractive. However, her twenty-six year old sister Solange Knowles is a different story. The mainstream got their first taste of her in 2008, when she released her sophomore album entitled Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. The record featured a unique blend of psychedelic R&B with a heavy emphasis on electronic elements. True, her third overall disc, is a bit of a departure from that sound. It’s funky, it’s catchy, and it sounds fresh while still retaining and old school feel.
The biggest and most obvious difference between Solange and her overrated big sister is the fact that Beyonce crafts music strictly for the radio. Solange doesn’t seem to give a damn about the radio. The opening track, “Losing You”, is a subtle, indie-funk jam that is not only one of the catchiest tracks of the year, but one of the best. The synth-heavy, weirdly addictive beat and the syrupy-sweet hook will have this song stuck in your head for a good week or so. And, for a lady that could care less if her songs end up on the radio, this song could be released as a single tomorrow and become a chart topper. However, that most likely won’t happen, which may be a good thing. The last thing we need is for another talented artist to succumb the mainstream and change their sound to fit that mold.
Next up is the one-two punch of “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work” and “Locked in Closets”. “Some Things” is almost as catchy as the opening track, and just as well-produced and funktastic. “Locked in Closets” takes one of my favorite instruments, the Moog synthesizer (the same instrument featured heavily in the score of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece A Clockwork Orange) and utilizes it to absolute perfection to create a cool, 90’s Janet Jackson-esque jam.
Unfortunately, the disc’s remaining four tracks don’t live up to the brilliance of the first three. The closest they come is the minute and a half long “Looks Good With Trouble”. The vocals are little more than a whisper, and the track is more of an interlude than a full-blown song, but it still makes for great listening and a perfect showcase of Solange’s vocal talents.
Solange Knowles has crafted an awesomely unique effort that only helps what I call the “R&B Revolution of 2012”. In a year that’s seen unbelievably good R&B game-changers from acts like Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and Miguel, Solange has contributed an exceptional addition to this resurgence of a genre that was in desperate need of an overhauling. At just under a half an hour, the record is much too short. It seems like a tease from Solange, but will only increase the hype for her fourth disc, whenever that may come. Beyonce’s kid sister is a force to be reckoned with in R&B, and even though she may never reach the success that her sister has, that will be a good thing for music in the long run.
Download These Now: Losing You, Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work, Locked in Closets