After five years of silence, Solange Knowles is back and this time she is taking no prisoners with her sophomore effort SoL-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. This go round Mrs. Knowles manifested her destiny by creating an album that is a true reflection of who she is as an artist. Solange has managed to avoid many of the pitfalls of her first album SoloStar , by taking creative control of her career. At first listen to the single’s “I decided” and “Sandcastle Disco”, the audience get’s the impression that this album is paying homage to the greats of Motown. Although, that is what the singles may say to the public ,the album’s standout tracks scream of an artist who has found her voice and is unafraid to utilize it. Songs such as T.O.N.Y , This Bird, and Would’ve been the one truly showcase Knowles voice and lyrical content . T.O.N.Y is a song about a guy who solange met and just can’t seem to shake. The songs infectious chant “I would have been in love by now if it wasn’t for T.O.N.Y , T.O.N.Y” ring in the listeners head well after the song has ended .and if the fact that the song was catchy wasn’t enough , Solange uses T.O.N.Y to invoke the spirit of Martha and the vandellas at their prime in 1965. Another song where Ms. Solange struts her stuff is the Jack Splash produced “Would’ve been the One”. Knowles proves she has guts by belting about the misfortune of a lost love. Solange does not have the robust voice of her sister, in spite of this she manages to impress those who doubt her vocal ability. Solange’s agile soprano is something to be in awe of. In an age, where many artist are restricted to a three note range, it is refreshing to see a pop singer who can sing, and not yell. Hadley St. Dreams, like all albums does have its sour moments. The errors are minor, but they are errors nonetheless. At times Hadley St. Dreams can be a little too eclectic for even this journalist’s diverse taste. The song “Cosmic journey” has a melodic tone that is easy on the ears but after three minutes and eleven seconds the song takes and unexpected twist into “techno town”. Often, times artists change the directions of a song in order to take the listener on a journey, but Cosmic Journey takes me on a trip I wish would end. Another moment where Knowles takes liberties is “This Bird” a musical declaration of self-love. The song chronicles her struggles and victories in life. The issue with the song comes when she starts talking and the song changes directions again, leaving the audience scratching their heads. Solange Knowles has made an album that will cause many to forget about the mishap that is SoloStar. SoL-Angel and the Hadley St.Dreams was given the world the opportunity to see that Solange is more than Beyonce’s baby sister. Solange is a sister but, she is also a mother, daughter , song writer , actress, and now she is a recording star. Stepping out on one’s own is never an easy thing to do, but Ms.Knowles has managed to do just that.
Solo Star Indeed
By Reggie Larkin