A definite contender for Album of the Year, A Seat at the Table, is gracious, smooth, subtle, bold and daring. The album is undeniably ‘black’, with several songs scattered with positive affirmations to uplift the black community, including Weary; (Be leery about your place in the world), Mad; (I ran into this girl, I said “I’m tired of explaining.”/I’m not feeling allowed to be mad), and, Don’t Touch My Hair.
The album could not have come at a better time with all of the racial tension going on in the United States, as well as a collective sense of confusion and anxiety over the upcoming elections in November where the fate of the country will be decided.
What also adds to the album’s greatness, are the interludes by Solange’s parents, Tina and Matthew, as well as legendary rapper and entrepreneur, Master P, who each recount their personal experiences growing up and generally living and working in America while black. We hear about childhood experiences and Master P’s inspirational story about earning enough money from his black-owned, independent record label, that he could afford to buy the whole white-owned block that his mother was then living in.
Sonically, the album is solid; it is authentic in its sound partially due to the use of real instruments, production from the likes of Raphael Saadiq, Q-Tip and Solange herself, who also, incidentally, wrote the majority of the project as well. This makes for a more personal and relatable feel to the songs. The way she uses her voice is very nice as well, the harmonies are beautiful, especially with additional vocals from the likes of Tweet, Sampha and Dev Hynes.
Personally, my favourite tracks from the album are; Where Do We Go From Here, Mad, Cranes in the Sky, Don’t Touch My Hair, F.U.B.U and Junie. I know it’s basically the whole album, but the project as a whole is objectively amazing and it’s hard to select stand out songs. I have literally had it on repeat since it was released. I am proud of Solange, and was interested to see what headspace she would be in since the release of her True EP four years ago. I couldn’t have asked for a better album. I would definitely give it 5/5.