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Sound Off – Solange: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on September 2, 2008

The latest albums making noise

Beyoncé’s little sister Solange made a name for herself with her debut, Solo Star, but, perhaps because of her age at the time, the album’s mediocrity and lack of mature material left listeners questioning whether the two were even related. Fortunately, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams sternly addresses these concerns and does an excellent job of convincing naysayers ― with the use of ’60s-style soul and more grown-up subject matter ― that the pair are sisters and that Solange is ready to step out of her sibling’s shadow.

The lead single, “I Decided,” is a passionately delivered throwback to the decade’s girl groups, with Pt. 1 being driven by hand claps and tambourines, while Pt. 2 is a bassier remix courtesy of the Freemasons. That sound is also present on “T.O.N.Y.,” a dedication to a distracting man or event (the jury is still out on which she’s referring to) that caused Solange to detour on her path to love, and “Dancing in the Dark,” which is full of the horns, upbeat drums and xylophonic taps that commonly complement kitschy ’60s British TV shows.

“God Given Name” is one of the most personal cuts on this compilation. Here, Solange declares her individuality from her famous sister, while curiously ending the track by promising that she’s not high. That may seem questionable given the inclusion of “Cosmic Journey,” a sensual jaunt made with Bilal that’s an ecstatic romp through every romantic emotion from giddiness to desire. The song truly lives up to its name with the final few minutes being dedicated to a slowly transitioning trance/house beat that will serve as an intriguing foundation for potential club remixes.

Other notables include: “6 O’Clock Blues,” an upbeat praise of her lover’s ability to make her feel safe despite what she sees on television news; “Ode to Marvin,” appropriately reminiscent of the legendary Marvin Gaye’s work, both lyrically and melodically, circa What’s Going On; and “Sandcastle Disco,” a cut that, to the casual listener, could easily be mistaken for a Motown hit from the label’s apex.

Solange successfully demands that listeners pay attention to her artistry with this project. Though too soon to tell if this will be her career-defining disc, the possibility definitely exists for it to be just that. In the time in between speculation and that becoming fact, it’s fair to say that Solange will achieve not only the aforementioned attention, but also the respect of critics and newfound fans.

Track List:
1. “God Given Name”
2. “T.O.N.Y.”
3. “Dancing in the Dark”
4. “Would’ve Been the One”
5. “Sandcastle Disco”
6. “I Decided, Pt. 1”
7. “Valentine’s Day”
8. “6 O’Clock Blues”
9. “Ode to Marvin”
10. “I Told You So”
11. “Cosmic Journey” with Bilal
12. “This Bird”
13. “I Decided, Pt. 2” [Freemasons Remix]

One Response to “Sound Off – Solange: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams”

  1. I like T.O.N.Y

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