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View Full Version : Solange - A Seat at the Table (2016)



Corpsey
04-11-2016, 12:42 PM
<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Aalbum%3A3Yko2SxDk4hc6fncIBQlcM" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Seat_at_the_Table

This is an excellent album. I thought we could talk about it, share favourite tracks, and so on. I'm a sentimental old soul.

Are her other albums worth checking out? I've not even listened to any Beyonce albums, save for:

<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Aalbum%3A2UJwKSBUz6rtW4QLK74kQu" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe>

Corpsey
04-11-2016, 12:48 PM
Most of this album seems to be co written and produced by Raphael Saadiq, which makes sense. It's neo soul, but there's also tracks by trendier producers like Kwes and Sampha. Interludes are largely spoken by Master P!

luka
04-11-2016, 01:44 PM
Kwes from Lewisham?

Corpsey
04-11-2016, 01:54 PM
Kwes from Lewisham?

yes

sufi
13-11-2016, 03:34 PM
I was gona do a Beyonce appreciation thread actually.
I was appreciating so much since she did formation, her attitude, her politics etc, even the way she seems to be making it thru celebrity family life, just about ok.
why i didnt? i felt like it was inviting the moment where it all went sour for beyonce, did that just happen with the election, maybe??
whatever, this is mega
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5zPky35GYc

CrowleyHead
14-11-2016, 04:41 PM
I've never been a Beyonce fan, still not really. "Pretty Hurts" is the most abysmal song.

This new Solange album is good, but its funny how it exists outside of reality. People on the internet have made it into album of the year, deservedly so in some regard as after being mishandled for years and years on end despite being a decent talent. But a 5 figure physically selling album (and from what I understand, radio charting singles out on y'all island) doesn't always translate to cultural significance. Its very much how Kendrick exists for a certain kind of person, and there will be a vast amount of people who are entirely ignorant to his existence. Its not a mark against the quality of the music, just more a pondering of the status of music in times like this.

rubberdingyrapids
15-11-2016, 11:12 AM
im ambivalent on both knowles sisters. i prefer singers who give away a little more in their vocals. but as far as the album, i like rise, and dont wish me well (this is the only track where i feel she goes under her default mode of self possessed detachment). it reminds me of a certain kind of neo soul album where it stays at a very comfortable level of tastefulness (tired of this lazy, dismissive word, but it fits). my main problem is that i think ppl are projecting a little more onto it than it actually does, because of her politics, because of her essay about being black in white spaces, because of the politics in the US, and the interludes, etc (though then again, there are lots of lyrics about identity politics sprinkled throughout). i actually find the album has lots of lovely moments and touches, it feels a little (deceptively?) unsubstantial. that might be solange in general though. she plays it too cool. im going to keep listening to it though. i need to spend more time with this. and with frank oceans blonde too.


Its very much how Kendrick exists for a certain kind of person, and there will be a vast amount of people who are entirely ignorant to his existence.

is that really possible, considering how much coverage he has gotten, and how many songs he has featured on? i know he doesnt have 'hits', but alright was pretty anthemic, no? if true, i think this is a common modern dilemma. people can exist in their own little musical filter bubble quite easily, even within certain genres.

CrowleyHead
15-11-2016, 11:48 AM
Ironically this has been a topic of debate under younger members of rap twitter where they reject the idea that "Alright" or "March Madness" were the songs of 2015; which is typically enforced by a much older audience. The reality is while plenty of people don't buy music or have as quantifiable support, a lot still do, but they are rarely unified demographics. There was a list of who are the top 5 most streamed artists in the US not too long ago and you'd often find Drake at the top of a lot of states, but in other states rap was non-existent except for maybe Eminem. Its a certain person, perhaps based in class, region, ethnicity and other breakdowns who are at the core of support for artists.

Its also why you typically see much MUCH higher sales and support for say Adele but not a lot of streaming significance. That's a definite gap of audience (people who listen to Adele don't know how to steal her music or want to have the CD for the car or whatever; maybe they're from an older demo, maybe they're not tech savvy, maybe they can afford to just buy CDs rather than the cheaper internet alternative but they don't get the relative simplicity of keeping it on the phone. Tons of factors.)

"Alright" is a big song. I guarantee you in this nation, its only a certain range of people who heard it, who like it, who made it a part of their cultural investment etc.

rubberdingyrapids
15-11-2016, 12:29 PM
obv drake is just more popular, full stop.

but kendrick is a critical favourite. and also respected by other rappers.

i often see this with rap fans. they are always doggedly out to disprove what 'outsiders' are imposing on the 'real' rap fan, or how these outsiders are denying the presence and greatness of the real shit, that they cant just accept that yes, kendrick isnt even as popular as drake on spotify (lll be honest, i dont even enjoy listening to him, apart from certain songs like MAAD city which objectively bang, but then i dont enjoy drake either), but maybe, he is still 'important', something that has criteria outside of those we rely on for most rap records, or most popular music. which is why kendrick is kind of important, and good, simply because he is working to a different criteria.

who are these 'certain people' elevating kendrick to a position you believe he doesnt deserve? was it all those elitist, cultural snobs singing alright at BLM rallies and gatherings? or are you just thinking of old timer, jon caramanica types at the NYT, who just want to see rap that reminds them of what they grew up on? (which they do, though some of those qualities they are looking for, are not actually bad)

(i dont actually dislike caramanica, but i imagine you have a long list of these certain people, im just interested in who these rap equivalents of climate change deniers are))

CrowleyHead
15-11-2016, 01:11 PM
I'm not even saying I'm actively fighting against the Kendrick narrative beyond occasionally pulling apart his music and pointing to the glossed over lackings on a musical level. But I get he's considered the IMPORTANT rapper. And I like Kendrick deep down as a rapper, he's made music I enjoy. If he was entirely without merit, I wouldn't give him the time of day at all the way I don't say... OG Maco.


i often see this with rap fans. they are always doggedly out to disprove what 'outsiders' are imposing on the 'real' rap fan, or how these outsiders are denying the presence and greatness of the real shit, that they cant just accept that yes, kendrick isnt even as popular as drake on spotify (lll be honest, i dont even enjoy listening to him, apart from certain songs like MAAD city which objectively bang, but then i dont enjoy drake either), but maybe, he is still 'important', something that has criteria outside of those we rely on for most rap records, or most popular music. which is why kendrick is kind of important, and good, simply because he is working to a different criteria.

I'm going to say that what I'd point to is the 'kind of' and that sometimes the 'kind of's feel so absolute to certain people, but in a broader picture are so so much more limited in reach than they realize. In a range I'm exposed to and admittedly tend to overly dwell in, I see Kendrick and Solange or on less R&B/Hip-Hop centric circles Carly Rae Jepsen, as being massive touchstones. But you get out of that range, like as if it were an old style TV/Radio station, and you're less likely to find people who make those their touchstones. Its not a criticism on the music itself inherently; nor is it a flaw of the fans as it is a fascination with perception, self-awareness, etc.


who are these 'certain people' elevating kendrick to a position you believe he doesnt deserve? was it all those elitist, cultural snobs singing alright at BLM rallies and gatherings? or are you just thinking of old timer, jon caramanica types at the NYT, who just want to see rap that reminds them of what they grew up on? (which they do, though some of those qualities they are looking for, are not actually bad)

Oh obviously for the people whom "Alright" is a rallying cry of some sort, I'm not going to talk down on. Certainly I could talk about how in Ferguson the narrative had people shouting Boosie lyrics at police, and now on a national level its "Alright", and how that IN ITSELF is indicative of a shift within the mentality of protest but ultimately who gives a shit what the anthem is right? It's symbolic but its not a hill for me to die on certainly.

Also as far as critics, my issue isn't inherently what they like about Kendrick. A person likes what they like, and if they're older and getting a little more conservative in the artists they want to hear from then bless 'em. I do question critics who can't look outside themselves and their taste though, because at the end of the day while the fan is entirely subjective and the critic of the record may say "Oh man 5/5, AOTY, fucking loads of great songs" whatever... that same individual has to be the critic of the record's impact and just as much as you talk about whom is listening to it, look at who doesn't look at it. Before Noz got so estranged with the internet, he was very interested with this and I think its incredibly valid, ESPECIALLY as critics have a tendency to exude disregard for music that might be more populist but not satisfying to them; if there's a massive audience for it, you have to at least engage with "Well what makes my fav not as impactful for all of these people as theirs?" because there's a million factors.

So to get to the matter at hand because I DON'T have any secret list of writers I have it out for (lmao), it's never that I feel certain artists are elevated unfairly... The Solange Album is Good Music. However, there are some factors here; She is the sister of one of the biggest pop stars in America who's now considered an unassailable cultural HERO for people, who is upheld by certain schools of taste and perception. As a result, she has access to industry pull that not everyone has (not to mention a decent enough amount of money from over the years). So while it was perhaps easier for Solange to release this album and have the range that it does (a strong part of it of course being, its good music at its core, my cynicism isn't out of complete discredit mind you), could you say that if this record were to be made by x other artist, it would have that same result?

At the same time, it goes so far because Solange is not Beyonce. Not that she has to be. It also only goes so far because there is certainly an audience who is deaf to the messages and themes, and even the music in total that Solange makes. She's not responsible for being accessible to everyone! But it's the range of those boundaries that I'm meditating on less so than the quality of the music or my ability to enjoy and engage with the music.

But I don't think people often work as hard at isolating their enjoyment. Granted there's a lot of people who don't want to and don't need to, they want to metaphorically pin up this album cover to the wall of their world and make it part of what gives them comfort. Not everyone sees the world through the same eyes, so when we presume enough people do... I'm circling essentially, but I think I've made my case clarified enough that pyramids is gonna pick apart at what he wants.

Sectionfive
15-11-2016, 10:31 PM
Solange LP is a big step up after some pretty weak sauce. It was mostly filler till now if people were honest but this is definitely a lot better. I find her stuff a bit contradictory though as while she clearly makes an effort with themes and beats from leftish field, her singing style is terribly generic. Like there is very little to distinguish it from the other 600 starlets coming out every week. Trying to keep a foot in both camps but succeeding in neither.

CrowleyHead
16-11-2016, 02:41 AM
Its clearly an attempt to co-opt the stuff coming out from the likes of Kelela or Dawn Richard imho, the former even co-writes a little bit on the album.

rubberdingyrapids
16-11-2016, 10:06 AM
doesnt sound much like either of those women to me, though im hardly an expert in DR. shes been doing this sort of left field R&B thing for a long time. before either kelela or dawn.

Corpsey
16-11-2016, 12:09 PM
What are the best/most distinctive voices in modern RNB?

I don't really care how non-generic Solange's singing is tbh, the songs are good and the production is too. And her voice isn't bad or weak. And I like a lot of Cassie tunes even though she's not much of a singer at all.

rubberdingyrapids
16-11-2016, 12:31 PM
alicia keys and john legend are two of the best, though songs-wise, theyre often pretty dull. i just like their voices. also obv, beyonce, rihanna. outside of the pop heavy hitters, theres erykah badu, dangelo, bilal (i think he is actually The Best, though he lacks the material). TY dolla sign is rare for having a lot of grit, the weeknd is distinct though limited, miguel is amazing imo. frank ocean is 'distinct' but seems pretty limited to a certain whiny/earnest/precious quality which i find distracting (though i love blonde).

andersoon paak is prob the most unique of newer artists but ive not quite decided if i like what he does (the nxworries EP he did i think is the best thing hes put out). hes more like the alt-R&B version of fetty wap/young thug etc than an R&B artist proper.

Corpsey
16-11-2016, 01:01 PM
With all due acknowledgement of what a shithead he is, I do love Chris Brown's voice. Usher too.

Jasmine Sullivan has a great voice.

CrowleyHead
16-11-2016, 06:35 PM
doesnt sound much like either of those women to me, though im hardly an expert in DR. shes been doing this sort of left field R&B thing for a long time. before either kelela or dawn.

She did Neo-Soul on the last album proper, and this shift has been characterized by clear consideration of the 'indiefication' of R&B on certain audiences, and those girls represent artists who've made their lane in following that trend, Solange is late, she's realligned her musical direction at least 3 times now.

rubberdingyrapids
17-11-2016, 01:22 PM
im still slightly confused.

kelela = dancey, electro-ish, electronic R&B, with somewhat vaporous vocals. dawn richard = i dont really pay enough attention to her outside of her clubbier stuff, but she seems dancier, poppier, and not really in that neo soul lane, colder sounding overall (i see her more as a slightly avant/alt ciara or janet jackson), whereas solange is much more about warmer textures (to me dawn is the new cassie for critics who need an R&B underdog to moan about not being better exposed, just another stick to either beat R&B listeners on the head about, or beat other critics about for not hearing what theyre hearing).

either way, solange has been doing this kind of thing for some years. not always that well, but shes been there. and i dont hear these other women as being that strong an influence on the solange album (apart from the one with kelela obv) where you can say shes 'co-opted' them, theyre just all influencing each other somewhat - kelela (and sampha) were on her saint heron compilation. you should maybe consider looking at these artists, and maybe music in general, as less of a war between supposed originators and great individualists vs biters and co-opters, and more of a sort of dialogue, esp in this modern 'sharing' era.

CrowleyHead
17-11-2016, 02:18 PM
Hard to do that when one of the artists is a multi-millionaire's lil' sis. Like... there's definitely an uneven playing field there. I'm not saying its hostile, its a willful practice of collaboration in the case of someone like Kelela and benefits from the album credit and exposure (not merely in royalties, this will obviously be getting a Grammy Nomination and that little tick on the ol' resume certainly gets you through more doors in this industry than being a Fader/Fact darling would). And I know that this album shouldn't have Beyonce held against her, HOWEVER the Knowles family have always used their money and influence to support both daughters careers (albeit a lot less effectively for Solange when their father was in charge) so as much as she's independent from Beyonce she isn't inherently because she has access to that level of resource that a Kelela or a Dawn doesn't quite get because for all their successes its not "Can donate 6 figure checks" success.

There was that thing about how for the Saint Heron essay she wrote, accusations went that she may have plagarised an essay from someone. I can't find the link to the accuser's post (will try when I get back home later just to show I'm not talking shit), but there's a scenario where even if it wasn't consciously, because Solange could easily read those words, internalize them and then regurgitate them herself without thinking of an external source... Obviously two people, different platforms, and a whole lot of different eyes.

geiom
05-12-2016, 11:04 AM
I think its a beautiful album, gets better the more you listen to it. Love the videos too. All I knew about her before getting this was that she smacked jay z in a lift

Corpsey
08-12-2016, 10:29 AM
Giving this another spin. Just noticed the melodic motif In Mad of 'let - your - love - go' is the same as 'don't - you - wait - for - me' in 'Don't You Wait For Me'. Is kinda Kelela-ish.

Corpsey
08-12-2016, 10:30 AM
Not a bad year for neo-soul with this, Anderson Paak and BJ the Chicago Kid... Oh and ATCQ of course.

Corinne Bailley Rae too although I've not listened to that yet.