Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams

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Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
Studio album by Solange
Released August 26, 2008 (2008-08-26)
Recorded 2005–08
Genre Pop-soul,[1] psychedelic soul,[2] electronica,[3] R&B[4]
Label Polydor, Music World
Producer Solange Knowles (exec.), Mathew Knowles (exec.), Ron Fair (exec.), Bama Boyz, Freemasons, The Neptunes, Jack Splash, Square, Mark Ronson, Max Gousse, Mr. Familiar, Soulshock & Karlin, Shea Taylor, Thievery Corporation
Solange chronology
Solo Star
(2002)
Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
(2008)
True
(2012)
Singles from Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
  1. "I Decided"
    Released: April 22, 2008
  2. "Sandcastle Disco"
    Released: August 15, 2008
  3. "T.O.N.Y."
    Released: March 31, 2009

Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams is the second studio album by American R&B singer Solange Knowles, released August 26, 2008, on Polydor Records and Music World. Recording during 2005 to 2008, Knowles was heavily influenced by the "Motown Sound" of the 1960s and 1970s during the album's conception, prompting her to work with several vintage-style producers and songwriters such as Jack Splash, Cee-Lo Green, Mark Ronson, and former Holland–Dozier–Holland composer Lamont Dozier.[5][6] Exploring the lyrical theme of independence, it also incorporates elements of downbeat and electronic music that she had familiarized herself with on previous trips to Europe.

Deviating from the R&B and dance-pop of Knowles' debut album, Solo Star (2002), Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams featured promotion that aimed at an "intellectual, backpacking, coffee shop, digital kid" audience.[7] The album debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 46,000 copies in its first week, and spawned three singles that attained chart success as number-one Billboard Dance hits. Upon its release, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams received generally positive reviews from most music critics. As of April 2009, it has sold 138,000 copies in the United States.

Background[edit]

Knowles had been working on her second studio album on and off since 2005 following her return home to Houston, Texas, and her divorce from Daniel Smith, with whom she had lived following the birth of their son Daniel Julez in October 2004.[8] The follow-up to the critical and commercial disappointment of 2003's Solo Star was preceded by Knowles's move from Columbia to Geffen Records in late 2007.[9] Knowles was heavily influenced by Motown girl groups such as The Supremes and The Marvelettes, and by her mother Tina, a one-time member of the 1960s harmony group The Veltones, who used to play music by the likes of Dusty Springfield and Martha Reeves to her. Knowles decided to distance herself from the teen pop and dance-pop-oriented R&B sound mainly associated with her previous effort, Solo Star.[8]

Willed to create a concept album revolving around her growth as a musical artist instead,[10] she eventually got into the idea of a "sweet, soulful record [...] based around the Sixties and Seventies, telling stories of where I have been the last couple years."[8] Also borrowing elements from downbeat and electronic music she discovered on recent trips to Europe,[11] her vision of the album eventually resulted into a mixture that Knowles has described as a "'60s/70s vintage soul record with hints of electronica."[12] In an interview with Billboard magazine, Geffen Records chairman Ron Fair said of the album prior to release, "Her record is totally bananas ... It's not what people would expect from her. The music is more electric and international. She's in her own lane."[13]

Recording[edit]

The song features a 1970s funk sound and contains a thick horn sample from Heinz Kiessling's 1960s recording "Feeling Young".[14][15]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Although Knowles had previously worked with a wide range of high-profile producers and songwriters on earlier projects, she struggled to convince her wishlisted musicians to contribute to Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, production-wise. This was due to no producer signing on to the project before hearing any material for the album.[16] "I don't think it was offensive," Knowles admitted. "I understand that these are people that want to take on credible passionate projects. So before I would work with them I would schedule a meeting and play them the record. And then they were more convinced and willing to get on board."[17] Cee-Lo Green and Mark Ronson were not consulted until late into the production of the album, both having been persuaded by Knowles at the 50th Grammy Awards ceremony: "I had to party with Cee-Lo too to get him to work on the record [...] but once he did [listen to my music] he signed on immediately."[16][18]

Knowles collaborated with several studio personalities, including Jack Splash, Shea Taylor, Mr. Familiar, Lamont Dozier, production teams Soulshock & Karlin and Bama Boyz, as well as singers and rappers Pharrell Williams, Bilal, Q-Tip and Lil Wayne respectively.[16][19] In addition, Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry lent vocals to the unreleased recording "Wanna Go Back", while Raphael Saadiq and British singer Estelle demoed the track "Same Song, Different Man", which didn’t make it to the final track listing.[16] In an interview with Starpulse, Knowles later said of the experience:

Inspired by the aspirations of Knowles's father Mathew, the album was titled after Hadley Street, a plot of land in downtown Houston: "My father took me there one day and told me he was going to build a studio," she said in an interview with the Daily Mail. "The title is a tribute to his vision. He had a plan and he saw it through. That was a real eye-opener for me. It inspired me to dig out my old Marvin Gaye albums and start writing songs."[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

In promoting the album, Geffen and Music World aimed at an "intellectual, backpacking, coffee shop, digital kid" audience.[20] Leading up to its release, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams featured promotional photography of Knowles in an array of costumes and wigs that evoke late 1960s and early 1970s fashion styles. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart,[21] and at number nine on the official Billboard 200,[22] with moderately successful first week sales of 46,000 copies,[23] making it Knowles's first US top 10 album. Internationally, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams was a commercial disappointment, reaching a peak position of just 180 on the UK Albums Chart.[24] As of April 2009, the album has sold 138,000 copies in the US.[25]

The album's lead single, "I Decided", debuted on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at number 44 in Billboard's July 5, 2008 issue.[26] The song also debuted at number one on the Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales charts and debuted at number two on the Hot Singles Sales chart. The single sold 300,000 copies in US[26][27][28] The album's last track, a remix entitled "I Decided (Part 2)", produced by Freemasons was released as the album's first single in Europe, where the song entered the top 30 of the UK Singles Chart.[29] The track reached the number-one spot on the US Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot Dance Club Play, while peaking at number 44 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[30]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B+[31]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[4]
Hot Press 4/5[32]
Pitchfork Media 7.3/10[33]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[34]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[3]
The Times 4/5 stars[35]
Yahoo! Music 8/10 stars[36]

Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 72, based on 14 reviews.[37] Rob Harvilla of The Village Voice called the album "bizarrely mesmerizing" and felt that some of the material's idiosyncratic and unconventional lyrics invite "inexplicable but highly favorable comparisons to Kate Bush. (Ethereal but powerful, unhinged but in total command.)"[38] Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe referred to the album as a "smartly executed, classy set of songs that's miles away from the hoochie pop being turned out by young female R&B vocalists these days".[39] Pryia Elan of The Times declared the album "a modern classic".[35] Dan LeRoy of The Hartford Courant compared her work to that of sister Beyoncé Knowles, stating "Solange combines retro warmth and current cool in ways her more commercially successful sibling probably can't."[40] Jaimie Gill of Yahoo! Music called it a "fine, rich and extremely likeable record",[36] and Francis Jones of Hot Press called Solange's singing "sassy and assured".[32] Andy Kellman of Allmusic cited it as "one of the year's more entertaining and easily enjoyable R&B releases" and found it "fun, silly, slightly eccentric and, most importantly, fearless":

In a mixed review, Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone cited Knowles's attempts at Erykah Badu-inspired psychedelic-soul tracks such as "Cosmic Journey", as well as her vocal abilities, as "embarrassing", comparing the album's sound to "a woozy lava lamp glow."[34] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian called its music "savvy R&B with a gloss you can check your reflection in", but ultimately observed "a lack of both memorable tunes and the steely spined ardour that makes Beyoncé so compelling."[4] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani was ambivalent towards its use of sampling on certain songs, but praised "the mix of organic, old-school instrumentation and more electronic elements", which he felt make it "a loose, fun and reverent record."[3] In his consumer guide for MSN Music, Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention ((2-star Honorable Mention)),[41] indicating a "likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy."[42] He cited "Would've Been the One" and "I Decided, Pt. 1" as highlights and quipped, "Frothily, defiantly, privilege's child runs through her options".[41] Vibe '​s Keith Murphy cited it as one of the R&B best albums of the year.[43]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "God Given Name" (Solange Knowles, Robert Garza, Eric Hilton) – 2:51 1
  2. "T.O.N.Y." (Jack Splash, CeeLo Green) – 3:54
  3. "Dancing in the Dark" (Solange Knowles, M. Grasso, Christopher Thomas, Steven Sanz, Heinz Kiessling) – 3:57 2
  4. "Would've Been the One" (Solange Knowles, Jack Splash, Makeba Riddick) – 4:30
  5. "Sandcastle Disco" (Solange Knowles, Soulshock, Kenneth Karlin, CeeLo Green) – 4:28
  6. "I Decided, Part 1" (Solange Knowles, Pharrell Williams) – 4:13 3
  7. "Valentine's Day" (Solange Knowles, Bama Boyz (Jesse Rankins, Jonathan Wells, Eddie Smith III) – 3:26
  8. "6 O'clock Blues" (Solange Knowles, Mark Ronson, Lamont Dozier, Neal Sugarman, Homer Steinweiss, Thomas Brenneck, Bosco Mann) – 3:37 4
  9. "Ode to Marvin" (Solange Knowles, Jack Splash, Makeba Riddick) – 3:15 5
  10. "I Told You So" (Solange Knowles, Shea Taylor) – 3:56
  11. "Cosmic Journey" (featuring Bilal) (Solange Knowles, Bilal, Soulshock, Kenneth Karlin) – 6:11
  12. "This Bird" (Solange Knowles, Marcus Eoin, Michael Sandison) – 6:07 6
  13. "I Decided, Part 2" (Solange Knowles, Pharrell Williams) (Remix by Freemasons) – 4:00
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
  1. "6 O'Clock Blues (Whatever Whatever Radio)"  – 4:05
  2. "I Told You So (Mike Rizzo Funk Generation Radio Mix)"  – 3:21
  3. "Wanna Go Back" (featuring Marsha Ambrosius & Q-Tip)  – 4:44
Bonus track - iTunes Edition[44]
  1. "White Picket Dreams" (S. Knowles, S. Taylor) – 4:22
  2. "ChampagneChroniKnightcap" (featuring Lil Wayne) (iTunes pre-order only) (S. Knowles, J. Rankins, J. Wells, E. Smith III, D. Carter) – 4:52
Bonus track - UK/Circuit City Edition[45]
  1. "ChampagneChroniKnightcap" (S. Knowles, J. Rankins, J. Wells, E. Smith III) – 4:09
Sample credits

1Contains a sample of Thievery Corporation's "A Gentle Dissolve"
2Contains a sample of Heinz Kiessling's "Feeling Young"
3Contains a sample of The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go"
4Contains a sample of Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings' "Summer of Sound"
5Contains a sample of the percussion in Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"
6Contains a sample of Boards of Canada's "Slow This Bird Down"

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Sean Hurley – guitar, keyboards, bass instrument
  • John "Jabb" Broussard – guitar, bass instrument
  • Phillip Todd – saxophone
  • Noel Langley – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Neil Sidwell – trombone
  • Manny Patino – drums

Production[edit]

  • Arrangers: Jack Splash, Karlin, Simon Hale, Soulshock
  • Engineers: Rommel Nino Villanueva, Andres Bermudez, Gelly Kusuma, Christian Plata, Ryan Gilligan, Shinnosuke Miyazawa, Robert "LB" Dorsey, Patrick Magee, Andrew Coleman
  • Mixing: Ben H. Allen, Neal H. Pogue, Jack Splash, Manny Marroquin, Dave Pensado, Soulshock
  • Mastering: Tom Coyne, Chris Gehringer
  • Art Direction: Fusako Chubachi, Erwin Gorostiza

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart[24] 180
US Billboard 200[22] 9
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[21] 3

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
Ireland August 18, 2008 Polydor, Music World
United Kingdom
United States August 26, 2008[46] Geffen, Music World
Europe September 9, 2008 Polydor, Music World

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  2. ^ Wood, Mikael (August 28, 2008). "No little-sister act for Solange Knowles". Los Angeles. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Cinquemani, Sal. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  4. ^ a b c Sullivan, Caroline. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  5. ^ "Beyoncé's little sister Solange manages motherhood, music and a divorce". Sister2Sister Magazine. 2008-05-01. Archived from the original on August 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  6. ^ Murphy, Keith. "Volume Now: Solange Knowles". Vibe. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  7. ^ Buy New Music. Buy Old Music. Just Buy Something. » SOULBOUNCE.COM. SoulBounce. August 25, 2008. Retrieved on 2011-05-27.
  8. ^ a b c d Adrian Thrills (2008-08-07). "Little sis Solange emerges from 'bootylicious' Beyoncé's shadow". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  9. ^ Daniels, Karu F. (2007-11-18). "SOLANGE KNOWLES: Off On Her Own". AOL Black Voices (AOL Black Voices). Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  10. ^ Sylvia Arthur (2008-06-01). "Destiny’s Child: Solange Comes of Age". Clutch Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  11. ^ Olivia Smith (2008-06-17). "Sister act: Solange Knowles, Beyonce's younger sibling, comes into her own". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  12. ^ Lindsay, Cam (2008-08-25). "Solange - "This Bird" (Feat. Boards of Canada)". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  13. ^ Hillary Crosley (2007-12-11). "Solange Knowles Inks With Geffen". Billboard magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  14. ^ ILIKEIT (August 31, 2008). Music Review - Solange Knowles: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Singersroom. Retrieved on 2011-07-05.
  15. ^ Godfrey, Sarah (September 13, 2008). Sloppy Seconds: The Game and Solange have a hard time avoiding the shadow of bigger names. Washington City Paper. Retrieved on 2011-07-05.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Solange Knowles To Release, 'Sol-Angel And The Hadley Street Dreams,' Aug. 26". Starpulse. 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  17. ^ "Solange Talks Musical Hiatus and 'Hadley St. Dreams' - The Boombox Music Blog". TheBoomBox. 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  18. ^ "Knowles Partied to Woo Producers". Contactmusic. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  19. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (2008-04-22). "Pharrell, Lil Wayne Grace Solange Knowles CD". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  20. ^ "Album Preview: Solange - ‘SoL-AngeL and The Hadley St. Dreams’". Rap-Up Magazine. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  21. ^ a b Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums - Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams - Solange Billboard. Accessed September 19, 2008.
  22. ^ a b The Billboard 200 - Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams - Solange Billboard. Accessed September 19, 2008.
  23. ^ David Jenison (2008-09-03). "09/03/2008 - Yahoo! Music Top 10". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  24. ^ a b "Chart Log UK - Chart Coverage and Record Sales 2008". Zobbel. zobbel.de. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  25. ^ Starbury, Allen. Geffen Ends Relationship With Solange Knowles, Singer Headed For Epic?. Baller Status. Retrieved on 2010-02-27.
  26. ^ a b Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales
  27. ^ Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales
  28. ^ Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales
  29. ^ "Song performance". A-Charts. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  30. ^ "Solange > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  31. ^ Slezak, Michael. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  32. ^ a b Jones, Francis (September 11, 2008). "Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams". Hot Press (Dublin). 
  33. ^ Finney, Tim. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  34. ^ a b Rosen, Jody. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams at the Wayback Machine (archived March 17, 2009). Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2012-11-18.
  35. ^ a b Elan, Priya (August 15, 2008). "Solange: Sol Angel and the Hadley St Dreams". The Times (London). Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b Gill, Jaimie. "Review of Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 2012-11-18. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  37. ^ "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams by Solange". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  38. ^ Harvilla, Rob. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  39. ^ "In her sister's shadow no more - The Boston Globe". Boston Globe. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  40. ^ Hartford Courant Review: Sol-Angel. Hartford Courant. Retrieved on 2008-12-31.
  41. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Consumber Guide: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams". MSN Music: January 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-12-02.
  42. ^ Christgau, Robert. CG 90s: Key to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-03-30.
  43. ^ Murphy, Keith. "Volume Now: Solange Knowles". Vibe: 86–88. November 2008.
  44. ^ SoL-AngeL and the Hadley Street Dreams on iTunes
  45. ^ SoL-AngeL and the Hadley Street Dreams on CircuitCity.com
  46. ^ Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams on Amazon.com

External links[edit]