By Zach Hester
After rising to the occasion with 2016’s A Seat at the Table, Solange is back with a follow-up worthy of the psychedelic-influenced record that came before it.
When I Get Home, the fourth full-length album from this slowly growing R&B queen, feels like the perfect sequel to its predecessor. The album is fully connected, meant to be listened to in order, and oddly, has no identifiable “singles” that could impact radio. In this absence of a desired, solely commercial success, Solange has created an ethereal record that is nothing short of astounding.
In the clues leading up to its release, When I Get Home was called “an exploration of origin.” In the interlude “Can I Hold the Mic”, she sings “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers, so many.” It’s this lyric along with songs like the opening track “Things I Imagined” and “Dreams” definitely expand on this concept with relatively simple lyrics but plenty of expert-level production.
On that note, the production on every single song is great. It’s honestly the highlight of the album for me, and that’s even with the great vocals on the record. “Way to the Show” is a good example of how well Solange throws her voice and makes it feel as though, all of a sudden, she’s singing from the other side of the room. “Jerrod” allows her to display her beautiful upper register and “Down With the Clique”, my personal favorite on the album, has perfect, multi-layered vocals.
When I Get Home feels like an early contender for my personal Album of the Year. It’s full of interesting collaborations and has already been called “breathtaking” by fans. The record is an expansion of her style. It’s one of those albums that makes you want to turn off all the lights, lay down and fully embrace the sounds. I may have to invest in some surround sound speakers to get the full effect I need.
Best Songs: Down With the Clique, Almeda, Dreams, I’m A Witness