I think it’s safe to say that Solange Knowles is having a pretty good year. Whether it was starting the year with a newly minted modeling contract with Next Model Management, increasing her popularity as a go-to celebrity DJ or solidifying her status as a style maven, Solange has been doing one thing consistently: WINNING. And to close her epic year, she’s dropped her latest musical project, and most critically acclaimed to date, True, a seven-track EP which is a vast departure from the 60’s and 70’s vibe that dominated her underrated 2nd CD, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams four years ago.
On “True”, Solange revels in the frothy pop goodness that was the 80’s, while infusing touches of R&B to remind us of her soul sensibilities. The result is a thoughtful disc that manages to stay upbeat in spite of its recurring themes of lost love, insecurity and regret.
The infectious lead single “Losing You” perfectly reflects Solange’s quirky personality. Funky African drum beats and hand claps incite you to dance along while Solange ponders the state of her failing relationship. It’s ironic to be sure. Solange also channels that complexity in “Don’t Let Me Down.” Accompanied by its perky arrangement, Solange’s angst and pleading that her lover “not let her down” evoke feelings reminiscent of your favorite Molly Ringwald flick.
Nowhere does Solange capture the moody, Miami Vice, drug-induced side of 80’s sound better than “Lovers in the Parking Lot”. Over a thumping bass line and what could double as an old-school Casio keyboard, Solange sweetly laments her role in a failed relationship and wish to reconcile. It’s one of the disc’s best.
It’s not all about heartache on “True”, however. Solange shows her seductive side on the way-too-brief “Looks Good with Trouble”; 1:30 of the sexiest come-hither R&B I’ve heard in some time. And when Verdine White (of Earth, Wind and Fire fame) adds his guitar riffs to the simmering, “Bad Girls”, it’s easy to forget the underlying sadness in the lyrics, “the bed I woke up in, that’s not my own. The makeup I applied two days ago…” Solange’s vocals glide over the beat, never doing too much. It’s just enough.
“True” is a melodic, easy listening EP that lets you press play and let it roll.
And with it, Solange ends her year the way she began it…. WINNING.
“True” EP is available for download now on ITunes or Amazon. The CD version will be released in January.
What do you think of Solange’s music?