When I Get Home
2019 – Neo-Soul / R&B
When I Get Home is a bag of experiences full of desires and dreams.
After renting a house in California to set an inspiring backdrop for her album, A Seat at the Table (2016), Solange packed his experiences, desires and ambitions in a suitcase that had the desire to return home. California inspirations that resulted in the excellent A Seat at the Table, an album that talks about the visibility of so-called minorities, were no longer enough for Solange’s ambitions and her next album. Then, without much secondary thought, Solange returned to Houston, her home town. In the nest where she was born, Solange would reclaim her feelings when she was young, and incorporate the learning she gained from her journey into Houston’s daily life. The result of this pure mixture was the Whey I Get Home.
When I Get Home, in the sum of its lines, it talks about the changes we suffered during an inner adventure. With 19 songs, Solange’s project is an amazing and cohesive testimony. With references from the contemporary world and past decades, Solange delivered a great job. Mixing several elements of Houston’s culture and acting in the form of poems, instruments and vocals, Solange was able to build Houston in our minds from her vision. While interludes serve as constructive elements, as in A Seat at the Table, Knowles gives voice to what really deserves attention.
The first track, “Things I Imagined”, has a curious broken progression in the instruments and it’s a repetitive poem about the things she saw, which actually are things she never thought she would actually see: “I saw things I imagined”. In “Down with the Clique”, like the first song, is really repetitive, however, has a great jazz-vibe instrumentation composed by drums, cymbals and synthesizers. On this track, Solange’s criticism is directed at those who forget their roots, when in fact it is necessary to exalt them. Although both are very repetitive, it is not enough to bother or hinder the experience. Going deeper on Houston, “Way to the Show” makes references to habits very common in Houston, such as painting cars with shiny material in “Way to the show, candy paint down to the floor” and about stray bullets in “Uh-huh, uh-huh, you can get it”. Using synthesizers and electronic equipment to create sound elements like gun noises that help increase immersion in Houston. In “Stay Flo”, Solange talks about the criticism she receives and also about violence with a rap beat that’s played differently and well-crafted vocals. Even though it’s a good song, I think it’s one of the weakest on the whole album.
As a fearless traveler, Solange talks about how you should battle your dreams in “Dreams”. With a short arrangement, the beat is very relaxing and the messenger voice is sensible and calm. Arriving in “Almeda”, we also arrived in Almeda, an area of Houston. With broken instruments, harmonies and arrangements overlapping drums-rapped beats characteristic of the 90’s, Solange tells about the rich black culture and praises it. While “Time (is)” it’s very slow and gives Solange an opening to show her versatility in something more acoustic jazz, “My Skin My Logo” is a casual conversation between Solange and Gucci Mane about the things they both enjoy in order to enhance these. The causality reaches from the beat that sometimes sounds like a ballroom dance song to the voices of both. This track ended up being very stripped. Although not a fan of talking about sex, in “Jerrod” she is open to talk about it in a track where the instrumental sounds complex and simple at the same time, sensuality reaches the way Solange speaks in an incredible way.
With percussion instruments that accompany the metronome, “Binz” breaks the stereotypes once again and talks about how powerful Solange is. Like “Time (is)”, “Beltway” is also very calm and crystal clear while using Houston road reference to create a superior message. “Sound of Rain” it’s an amazing mix of pop, electronic, jazz and rap/hip hop sounds. To finish the album, “I’m a Witness” is a religious band worked by astral vibrations composed of several layers at all levels. With vocals reaching her and keeping up with several notes, Solange talks about having control of her life and living life the way she wants and the way that makes her happy.
As in A Seat at the Table, When I Get Home draws attention because of the many interludes throughout the album. However, most of these could easily fit into intro or outro of the tracks. But, although most are short, their meaning is as big as the songs. For example, in “S McGregor”, Solange references to the street where the sisters Debbie Allen e Phylicia Rashad lived; while “We Deal with The Freak’n” talks about how wonderful women are through a speech by Alexyss K. Tylor. As simple as it sounds, interludes have a sincere connection to the tracks. Like the “Exit Scott” that appears after “Beltway”, both of them cite highways that are physically linked. The level of research, preparation and production of Interlude alone was immense, so that everything sounded in tune with the tracks and meanings.
When I Get Home is an account of an important piece in Solange’s life. Even with the annoying little details such as having many interludes at times when they were not needed and very repetitive lyrics, When I Get Home is a cohesive, complete, representative and metaphorical book. Solange worked with clarity, precision and focus topics of gender, ethnicity and feminism. The mix of divergent sounds like jazz and electronica was smooth and strong at the same time. The vocal performance was amazing, Solange demonstrated control of her voice even when her feelings spoke louder. At the end, When I Get Home is a great album.