When I heard the title of Solange’s digital book and third musical album, A Seat at the Table, I immediately thought of the proverb: “If you’re not at the table, then you’re on the menu.” In other words, if you are not a part of the decision making process, you will be left out. I am not sure if the saying is what Solange wanted to invoke, but art is open to interpretation, right? Similarly, Refinery 29‘s review of the album said, “To offer someone a seat at a table is to include them; to make their thoughts, feelings, and opinions valid.” Six and one half dozen of the other. I think we can all agree, A Seat at the Table is proof that Solange has staked her claim as a thoughtful producer, an opinionated creative, and an inventive decision-maker. In fact, Solange wrote, composed, and co-created all twenty-one songs on the album. So, she’s not only seated at the table, she owns the table… and the dining room too!
According to Solange, the album is, “a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief, and healing.” I agree. What’s really unique about the album is its emphasis on self-care, which is so needed, given current events. Tracks like, “Borderline” and “Interlude: The Glory is in You,” touch on the importance of prioritizing love and finding inner peace.
Musically, A Seat at the Table vaguely reminds me of Erykah Badu’s Baduizm, but with more electronica and funk. Catchy, but not cliché, lyrics take you on a thoughtful journey while simultaneously allowing you to escape from reality (for an hour and forty minutes). Solange’s meaningful messages poured over cathartic rhythms make for a euphoniously delectable spread. Each track flows easily into the next, and at the end, you’re left satiated and renewed. The album also features top-notch collaborations with Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland, and The Dream, to name a few.
Since the record was just released, I’ve yet to pick a favorite song. However, I really enjoy the interlude, “Tina Taught Me,” a spoken word recording by Solange’s mother, Mrs. Tina Lawson. Ms. Tina’s candid words on ancestral pride give insight to how she sees herself and how she’s raised her daughters. The tone of the interlude is reminiscent of wisdom imparted to me by my elders, who, like Ms. Tina, “never wanted to be nothing else.”
Take a listen!