Take a Seat at the Table for the Best Album Review Ever.

“I don’t expect everyone to have a handbook or a guidebook on how to deal with certain issues – I certainly don’t. But there is this idea that we as black people should just be an open-ended book of resources, when we are having to heal ourselves, let alone teach everyone how to deal with us.” – Solange* 

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Since the last day of September, Solange has been feeding us from her bountiful table of specially selected soul, full-course southern style and a full helping of all the pain and beauty of being Black. Mama and Papa Knowles are in attendance along with New Orleans’ finest, Lil’ Wayne and Master P. 

Grab a plate and pull up A Seat at the Table for a chat with me + one of my favorite bloggers, Tunisia Jolyn

Kelley Briana: First listen to A Seat at the Table was in parts, but I did take the time out to tune in with no distractions-sitting still, absorbing the music as well as the lyrics. It’s nothing like her previous albums or EPs, but it shows her growth and reflects the times, as every artist should. It’s much more mellow than True and definitely more adult than Sol-Angel. And I say it is five star. So glad she made her return with such a necessary work of art. I love it I love it I love it!

Tunisia Jolyn: I woke up around 2 in the morning and thought to myself, “This is the perfect time to download Solange’s new album and listen.” Despite having to wake up early for work, I went ahead with my plan and did not regret the loss of sleep at all. In the complete darkness of my room, her crisp vocals shined an internal light, mesmerizing me from start to finish yet the lyrics describe a deep-rooted pain and strength that underlies the lives of our people. Truly moving. I agree with your comparisons to her previous albums. I will say, however, that I am not surprised by her progression because I remember her very first album, Solo Star, showcased her unique vibes with music. Every song she had some part in, I loved the most and I still feel her earliest songwriting and production work, on Solo Star and even on Kelly Rowland’s first solo record, Simply Deep, are extremely underrated. She just always had a special way with words and sounds and this album delivers that times ten! 

Kelley BrianaYes! I’m pretty sure we were listening at the same time because I had like two hours of sleep but made sure I had my playlist set before I laid down. I echo your sentiments.. except I’ll admit I can only recall like two tracks from Solo Star. I have some homework to do. You know when an artist you love- or maybe even a brand new artist to you emerges -you kinda wanna scoop up everything they’ve made and binge listen? Hear the transition. I felt that way after having A Seat at the Table on repeat all night. Every waking moment, this album should be in my ears. I am pretty sure I’m gonna get a listen in as often as possible for awhile. A long while.

I like that she got her parents + Nola natives involved. Truly paying homage to where she came from, who she is and the newer roots she’s planted in Louisiana. I really really love + appreciate every single track, including the interludes. The realness of “Mad” and “F.U.B.U.” The piano and ooh-whas of “Junie”.. “Junie” is a definite favorite. “Don’t Touch My Hair”, for obvious reasons lol, is a favorite. It’s so real! Hair is much more than hair for us. I think above all though, so far, “Cranes in the Sky” is my absolute favorite jam. Just.. everything about it. 

And “Borderline”. Top track, no doubt.

And “Scales”. omg.. so dreamy! Kelela is my jam. Did I mention my love for the entire album?

Tunisia Jolyn: LOL Yes, I believe you did mention your love for the entire album. In fact, you almost listed every song as your favorite and I don’t blame you! The whole album is brilliant in its delivery but there are some highlights that I noticed while listening to A Seat At The Table. The first song, “Rise,” really grabbed my attention from the first lines “Fall in your ways so you can crumble/Fall in your ways so you can sleep at night/Fall in your ways so you can wake up and fly.” The poetic words and intricate harmonies really set the tone for the rest of the album.  Then, it smoothly segues into my other favorite track, “Weary.” With its minimal production from Raphael Saadiq and Sir Dylan, this song really allows her message of self-discovery and self-empowerment to stand out strongly without many distractions at all. While listening to “Cranes in the Sky,” I immediately thought of the legendary Minnie Riperton, especially when she hits that high note at the very end. Every time I hear it, I get chills because she captured the pain of trying to block the insurmountable pressure of being Black in this world, in such a gorgeous way; it is almost like alchemy for the soul. “F.U.B.U.” is another hot track where she shows so much swag and I hate that word ‘swag’ but it’s the best word to describe how she rides the beat so flawlessly while spilling the real so effortlessly. Better than some rappers actually. I can see every woke Black person vibing to this while bopping their heads like “Yup… this shit is definitely for us.” 

Oh and that intro to “Don’t Touch My Hair” though…🙌

Okay I’m done. 

Kelley Briana: Yea you summed it up LOL. It’s just… organic. I was a lil skeptical when I saw some of the featured artists (who will go unnamed), but I dig the WHOLE thing. I can say that about only a few albums in my library.

Tunisia Jolyn: Organic is such a good word for this album. I would also add ‘authentic’. When discussing such serious topics within our community and in society as a whole, Solange seems to take such a bold yet polite approach, seemingly purposefully given the title of the album. From the music to the digital book to the artwork, A Seat At The Table has almost a muted expression of the frustration, anger and hurt within the Black community while also being unapologetically empowering and inclusive in its delivery, embracing her genuine pride and love for her people and her culture while showing her Southern manners with her invited guests at the table. 

Kelley BrianaI am not even mad at all the new fans that got up from the table stuffed with the realness that is Queen Solange! A Seat at the Table should be in every Black person’s library. She did her duty as an artist by releasing a timely album that is a true sign of the present. I echo you in saying that there is a muted frustration. I love the mixture of self-love, amorous love and Black love/love for our people. It’s rare that an album boasts all three-so rare that I can’t think of another like it. [On the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe To Pimp a Butterfly.] A Seat emerged at a point when it’s much needed and, for that reason [along with it just being overall jammin’], clearly well received. You’ll be able to take this one off the shelf in ten, twenty, thirty years and remember exactly what was happening to our people in 2016. 

It’s always refreshing to hear an artist with a platform be absolutely real, to say hey, I’m Black like you and it hurts me just the same. I feel it. You are welcome here, in my home. At my table. Sit down. Sing along. Cry. Be mad. Hear, listen to these poems I sang for us. Just us

I cannot give this modern masterpiece enough praises. A Seat at the Table, album of the year. 

*Quote Source: http://www.wmagazine.com/story/exclusive-solange-knowles-in-conversation-with-tavi-gevinson-about-a-seat-at-the-table

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46 comments

  1. tunisiajolyn84 · October 3

    I really enjoyed this album and conversation. So happy we collaborated! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: this is what happens when two black female bloggers have a seat at Solange’s table
  3. Ashlee · October 3

    Really really good review and is the featured artist you’re referring to Lil Wayne? 😏😈

    Liked by 2 people

  4. themelanatedman · October 3

    Very insightful review! I learned something. I may give it a look.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kelley · October 3

      Thank you! I cannot recommend it enough. I doubt you will be disappointed.

      Liked by 2 people

      • themelanatedman · October 3

        I’m a oldies person so it’s rare that stay up to date on today’s music. I got an old soul lol but if it speaks to me I will listen.

        Liked by 1 person

        • kelley · October 3

          I’m really not trying to sell you but Solange has that balance of new head with old time soul. Some of her music has a straight 80s vibe. I hear echoes of Whitney, Prince. Definitely give it a listen and lemme know what you think.

          Liked by 1 person

          • themelanatedman · October 4

            I will… thank you. First two I heard so far were nice.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Silksache't · October 3

    i lovvveeeeeeeeeeeee this album…solange is like my best friend in my head

    Liked by 2 people

  6. hitandrun1964 · October 3

    It flows…therefore, it’s beautiful…constant movement, delicate and natural.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Eboni Katrice · October 4

    I love it! Listening again at my desk as I type…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. K E Garland · October 4

    This is THE most creative way to review an album that I’ve seen. Love it. Also, you two are the 4th and 5th to praise her work, so I gotta check it out. I do need a clarification, though. Are you saying you didn’t enjoy To Pimp a Butterfly?

    Liked by 3 people

    • nosyjosie · October 4

      I definitely agree – totally creative!! I’ve never listened to Solange but you guys made me want to check her out. Awesome collab!

      Liked by 3 people

      • kelley · October 4

        Thanks so much! It was Tunisia’s idea to collaborate and format it like a conversation …like we were actually at a table! She’s a genius!

        Liked by 2 people

        • nosyjosie · October 5

          I loved it. So smart. You should collab on other topics too. Same format though

          Liked by 2 people

          • kelley · October 6

            We just might. Thanks so much for the suggestion. So glad you enjoyed 😉

            Liked by 2 people

    • kelley · October 4

      Thank you! It was mostly Tunisia’s idea; I just said my .02

      I loved To Pimp a Butterfly. I was saying I couldn’t think of another album off the top of my head that spoke of romantic love, Black love AND self-love like A Seat. But I think To Pimp speaks on them all as well, so that was my comparison.

      And yes, definitely give it a listen! I think you’ll enjoy.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. jlanae24 · October 7

    I too loved Solange’s Seat at the Table. I loved the vocals and interviews from Master P, Tina ,and Lil Wayne’s part. I have to admit I wasn’t a Solange music fan before this album, but my attention has peaked. I can hear the soul in her voice its like her voice sinks into your ears and tickles your ear drums. A seat at the table gives me that retro black power neo soul kind of feel and I love it. Its perfect for us natural girls getting ready in the morning when we are little down about what in the heck are we going to do with our hair today. I blast this album and get to jamming. I hope she continues to go in this direction musically.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. K E Garland · October 13

    Kelley and Tunisia…I downloaded Solange’s album, and OH MY GAWD! Thanks for the recommendation, really. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE FUBU! That’s what we need right now. I’ve listened to that song alone at least five times. And every time, I keep thinking…right, everything ain’t for y’all. Some stuff is just for us and this song is one of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Resa · October 14

    Don’t Touch My Hair is sooo incredibly sweet & strong. I love it! The interview is excellent.
    Congratulations to both of you for a great interview review & wonderful post. TY!

    Liked by 2 people

    • kelley · October 14

      Thank YOU for tuning in, Resa! It’s a beautiful work of art.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Resa · October 14

        :D… Has Chalktoberfest happened yet?

        Liked by 1 person

        • kelley · October 14

          Yes! You remembered 😉

          I actually ended up volunteering with some kids most of the day, so I couldn’t make it. That reminds me.. I have to go look at some of the artists’ work!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Resa · October 14

            Volunteering with kids is utmost. Perhaps when you go to look at the chalk artwork, you might think it is great enough to take some kids next year?
            Exposing young people to art is important, or so I think.

            Liked by 1 person

          • kelley · October 14

            Perhaps. And I agree; I know they’d enjoy it. We were creating a short film, so they are exposed at some capacity. I hope to work with them again.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Resa · October 14

            Good for you! A short film is a fabulous project. I am a costume designer by trade. https://resamcconaghy.com/ Although the industry is not all it could be, it remains an awesome force.

            Liked by 1 person

          • kelley · October 15

            No way! I checked out the link and you’re kind of a big deal! My degree is in fashion + marketing and I’m most fulfilled doing projects like this, wardrobe styling. There’s nothing like it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Resa · October 16

            TY!! ⭐ You’ve made my day with your lovely compliment. My degree was in Fashion Design & Technology. I wish I knew more about marketing. Then perhaps I could do something more solid with my Art Gowns for Charity, which you may have linked to from my website. https://artgowns.com/
            If you love styling, just keep going! One thing leads to another. I did a lot of music videos & commercials when I started out. There is so much more opportunity now with webisodes, you tube & internet series. There’s a big need for what you love to do!
            Do you have a website for your work?

            Liked by 1 person

          • kelley · October 16

            Thank you. Your work and words are definitely inspiring.

            I have a site for my visual works:
            http://ab-originality.com

            Liked by 2 people

          • Resa · October 16

            I love your work! It is very original & beautiful. Amazing, really! You are also an inspiration. Keep going! Who knows what’s next? There are many creative areas open to your talent.
            You have one fan for sure in Canada.

            Liked by 1 person

          • kelley · October 17

            Thank you so much!

            Like

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