After a four year hiatus, 2012 has been Solange Knowles’ year. Drawing comparisons between her superstar sister are probably uninvited, but with the release of Losing You Solange successfully departed from Beyonce’s shadow. The leading track for her new mini-album True; Losing You lavishly sets the scene for an album rich in soulful harmonies layered over up-tempo beats. While the lyrics on True centre around break-up and heartache, Solange manages to wistfully ease the blow by employing bouncy hand-claps and catchy choruses which contrast against production drenched in ’80s pop.
Breaking into the music scene at 16, Solange’s previous work includes the heavily R’n’B influenced Solo Star and the psychedelic soul Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams. However, True relies on an eclectic sound with vocals that are increasingly saturated in crescendo harmonies. A short album, the highlight track is Losing You which has topped many ‘Best of 2012’ lists. Released several months prior to the album, the success of the track was aided by the majestically bright and quirky film clip. Co-written and co-produced by the great Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), the bouncing production is polished to perfection. In describing their relationship, Solange says, “I think the yin and yang of us is what makes it so great…Dev is a very intuitive artist…I have more of a pop sensibility where I want to create an infrastructure: a hook, bridge, all that.” Solange’s increased vocal range is noticeable in Losing You, though she relies on ethereal tones and textures to compliment the eclectic beat. A desperate woman anticipating heartbreak, she murmurs pain and loss all within an infectious melody. Lovers In The Parking Lot is another standout. This time focusing on the hurt caused by her own infedelity, Solange explores regret and temptation. This nostalgic track again features Solange displaying an extended vocal range and the most lavish display of evoking harmonies on the album. Toying with loss and pleasure, this song captures a reminiscent tone that compliments the overall message.
The hype surrounding Truth and its leading track is not unfounded. Solange brings to soul and funk a fresh energy and style which cannot be compared. Working with vision, mood and sound, she leaves vocal gymnastics to her sister. With an ear for idiosyncratic beats, and a knack for layering them with the right amount of instrumentals and vocals, Solange wields together wholesome and emotional songs.
BY TAMARA VOGL
Best Track: Losing You
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: The Weeknd, MS MR
In A Word: Eclectic