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Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams

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Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
Solange - Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 26, 2008 (2008-08-26)
Genre
Length58:32
Label
Producer
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. "ChampagneChroniKnightcap"
    Released: August 19, 2008
  3. "Sandcastle Disco"
    Released: November 25, 2008
  4. "T.O.N.Y."
    Released: March 31, 2009
  5. "Wanna Go Back"
    Released: August 17, 2010

Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams is the second studio album by American R&B singer and songwriter Solange Knowles. It was released on August 26, 2008, by Geffen Records. Knowles was heavily influenced by the "Motown Sound" of the 1960s and 1970s prior to the album's recording, prompting her to work with several like-minded producers and songwriters such as Jack Splash, CeeLo Green, Mark Ronson, and former Holland–Dozier–Holland member Lamont Dozier.[6][7] 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, according to her record label.[8] 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 reached number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.[9] 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]

The pop-soul music of Motown girl groups like The Supremes (pictured in 1966) influenced Knowles's direction for the album.

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[10]

Willed to create a concept album revolving around her growth as a musical artist instead,[12] 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."[10] Also borrowing elements from downbeat and electronic music she discovered on recent trips to Europe,[13] her vision of the album eventually resulted in a mixture that Knowles has described as a "'60s/70s vintage soul record with hints of electronica."[14] 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."[15]

Recording[edit]

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.[18] "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."[19] 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."[18][20]

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.[18][21] 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.[18] In an interview with Starpulse, Knowles later said of the experience:

"By the end of the project, I had worked with all of the producers and artists I had ever dreamed of including Q-Tip, Boards of Canada and Mark Ronson ... When I got a call saying the legendary Lamont Dozier would take the time out to write with little old me I was ecstatic beyond words."[18]

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."[10]

Release and promotion[edit]

Solange performing at the South by Southwest music festival in 2009

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 record companies of its release, Geffen and Music World Entertainment, aimed at an "intellectual, backpacking, coffee shop, digital kid" audience in promoting the album.[22] Released on August 26, 2008,[23] the album debuted at number three on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart,[24] and at number nine on the Billboard 200,[25] with first-week sales of 46,000 copies.[26] By April 2009, the album had sold 138,000 copies in the United States.[27]

The album's lead single, "I Decided", was released on April 22, 2008.[28] It charted at number 44 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs,[29] at number one on the Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales charts, and at number two on the Hot Singles Sales chart.[30][29][31][32] It also peaked at number 27 on the UK Singles Chart and at number 6 on the UK R&B Singles Chart.[33][34] "ChampagneChroniKnightcap" featuring American rapper Lil Wayne was released as a single on August 19.[35] November 25 saw the release of "Sandcastle Disco",[36] which reached the number one spot on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.[37] "T.O.N.Y." was released as the fourth single on March 31, 2009,[38] topping the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.[39] The song also charted at number 31 on Billboard's Adult R&B Songs,[40] and number 62 on both the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[41][42]

On August 17, 2010, "Wanna Go Back" was released as a single,[43] and an EP of remixes for "I Told You So" was released;[44] the latter charted at number 5 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.[45] A similar EP featuring remixes of "Would've Been the One" was released the following week on August 25,[46] and it reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.[47] On October 25, a remix EP was issued for "6 O'Clock Blues".[48]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic72/100[23]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Digital Spy4/5 stars[49]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[50]
The Guardian3/5 stars[1]
Hot Press4/5[51]
Pitchfork7.3/10[52]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[53]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[4]
The Scotsman3/5 stars[54]
The Times4/5 stars[55]

Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams was met with generally positive reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 72, based on 14 reviews.[23]

Reviewing the album in The Village Voice, Rob Harvilla called it "bizarrely mesmerizing" and said that the idiosyncratic and unconventional lyrics of some songs invite "inexplicable but highly favorable comparisons to Kate Bush. (Ethereal but powerful, unhinged but in total command.)"[56] 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".[57] Pryia Elan of The Times declared it "a modern classic",[55] while Hartford Courant critic Dan LeRoy compared Knowles' music to that of her sister Beyoncé. "Solange combines retro warmth and current cool in ways her more commercially successful sibling probably can't", Leroy wrote.[58] Jaimie Gill of Yahoo! Music called Sol-Angel a "fine, rich and extremely likeable record",[59] and Francis Jones from Hot Press found Solange's singing "sassy and assured".[51] Vibe's Keith Murphy named it one of the best R&B albums of the year.[60] 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", with most of the songs "soaked in bouncing pop-soul".[2]

Some reviewers expressed reservations. In MSN Music, Robert Christgau gave the album an "honorable mention" and deemed Knowles "privilege's child" who "runs through her options" in a defiant but frothy manner, while naming "Would've Been the One" and "I Decided" as highlights.[61] 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."[1] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine 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."[4] More critical was Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen, who found it "embarrassing" for Knowles to attempt Erykah Badu-inspired psychedelic-soul on tracks such as "Cosmic Journey". He also remained unimpressed by her singing and the record's sound, comparing it to "a woozy lava lamp glow."[53]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."God Given Name"Solange Knowles, Robert Garza, Eric Hilton2:51
2."T.O.N.Y."CeeLo Green, Jack Splash3:54
3."Dancing In the Dark"Knowles, Marcello Grasso, Steven Sanz, Christopher Thomas, Heinz Kiessling3:57
4."Would've Been the One"Knowles, Makeba Riddick, Splash4:30
5."Sandcastle Disco"Knowles, Green Carsten Schack, Kenneth Karlin4:28
6."I Decided, Part 1"Knowles, Pharrell Williams, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland4:13
7."Valentine's Day"Knowles, Jesse Rankins, Eddie Smith III, Jonathan Wells3:26
8."6 O'Clock Blues"Knowles, Dozier, Mark Ronson, Bosco Mann, Homer Steinweiss, Neal Sugarman, Thomas Brenneck3:37
9."Ode to Marvin"Knowles, Riddick, Splash, Marvin Gaye, Renaldo Benson, Al Cleveland3:15
10."I Told You So"Knowles, Shea Taylor3:56
11."Cosmic Journey" (featuring Bilal)Knowles, Bilal Oliver, Schack, Karlin6:11
12."This Bird"Knowles, Marcus Eoin, Michael Sandison6:07
13."I Decided, Part 2" (Freemasons Remix)Knowles, Williams, Dozier, B. Holland, E. Holland4:00
2008 deluxe edition bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
14."6 O'Clock Blues" (Whatever Whatever Radio Remix) 4:05
15."I Told You So" (Mike Rizzo Funk Generation Radio Mix) 3:21
16."Wanna Go Back" (featuring Marsha Ambrosius & Q-Tip)Knowles, Marsha Ambrosius, Q-Tip, Brian Miller, Oliver4:44

Sample credits[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Sean Hurley – guitar, keyboards, bass instrument
  • John "Jabb" Broussard – guitar, bass instrument (Track 7)
  • 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 (Track 9), Neal H. Pogue (2, 6, 8, 13), Jack Splash (4), Manny Marroquin (3, 5), Dave Pensado (1, 7, 10, 12), Soulshock (11)
  • Mastering: Tom Coyne, Chris Gehringer
  • Art direction: Fusako Chubachi, Erwin Gorostiza

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart[65] 180
UK R&B Albums Chart[65] 21
US Billboard 200[25] 9
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[24] 3

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Caroline (August 14, 2008). "Urban review". The Guardian. Retrieved March 2, 2019. Sol-Angel is savvy R&B
  2. ^ a b c d Kellman, Andy (n.d.). "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams". AllMusic. Retrieved March 2, 2019. ...one of three songs not soaked in bouncing pop-soul...
  3. ^ Wood, Mikael (August 28, 2008). "No little-sister act for Solange Knowles". Los Angeles. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 'Sol-Angel' is an appealingly freewheeling set of lightly psychedelic soul music
  4. ^ a b c d Cinquemani, Sal (August 26, 2008). "Review: Solange, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 2, 2019. Electronica plays an unexpected role throughout Sol-Angel, with production assistance from Thievery Corporation on the opening track, and one song, a futuristic neo-soul duet with Bilal called “Cosmic Journey,” morphing into a happy-rave trance track. Venturing off into the unknown plays well for Solange—the mix of organic, old-school instrumentation and more electronic elements makes for a loose, fun and reverent record.
  5. ^ Wood, Mikael (August 28, 2008). "No little-sister act for Solange Knowles". Los Angeles. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 'Sol-Angel' is an appealingly freewheeling set of lightly psychedelic soul music
  6. ^ "Beyoncé's little sister Solange manages motherhood, music and a divorce". Sister2Sister Magazine. May 1, 2008. Archived from the original on August 5, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  7. ^ Murphy, Keith. "Volume Now: Solange Knowles". Vibe. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  8. ^ Buy New Music. Buy Old Music. Just Buy Something. » SOULBOUNCE.COM. SoulBounce. August 25, 2008. Retrieved on May 27, 2011.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ a b c d Adrian Thrills (August 7, 2008). "Little sis Solange emerges from 'bootylicious' Beyoncé's shadow". Daily Mail. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  11. ^ Daniels, Karu F. (November 18, 2007). "SOLANGE KNOWLES: Off On Her Own". AOL Black Voices. AOL Black Voices. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
  12. ^ Sylvia Arthur (June 1, 2008). "Destiny's Child: Solange Comes of Age". Clutch Magazine. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  13. ^ Olivia Smith (June 17, 2008). "Sister act: Solange Knowles, Beyonce's younger sibling, comes into her own". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  14. ^ Lindsay, Cam (August 25, 2008). "Solange – "This Bird" (Feat. Boards of Canada)". Exclaim!. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  15. ^ Hillary Crosley (December 11, 2007). "Solange Knowles Inks With Geffen". Billboard magazine. Retrieved October 16, 2008.
  16. ^ ILIKEIT (August 31, 2008). Music Review – Solange Knowles: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Singersroom. Retrieved on July 5, 2011.
  17. ^ 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 July 5, 2011.
  18. ^ a b c d e "Solange Knowles To Release, 'Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams,' Aug. 26". Starpulse. May 4, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  19. ^ "Solange Talks Musical Hiatus and 'Hadley St. Dreams' – The Boombox Music Blog". TheBoomBox. July 23, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  20. ^ "Knowles Partied to Woo Producers". Contactmusic. August 18, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  21. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (April 22, 2008). "Pharrell, Lil Wayne Grace Solange Knowles CD". Billboard. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
  22. ^ "Album Preview: Solange – 'SoL-AngeL and The Hadley St. Dreams'". Rap-Up Magazine. June 12, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  23. ^ a b c "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams by Solange". Metacritic. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
  24. ^ a b Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams – Solange Billboard. Accessed September 19, 2008.
  25. ^ a b The Billboard 200 – Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams – Solange Billboard. Accessed September 19, 2008.
  26. ^ David Jenison (September 3, 2008). "09/03/2008 – Yahoo! Music Top 10". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  27. ^ Starbury, Allen. Geffen Ends Relationship With Solange Knowles, Singer Headed For Epic?. Baller Status. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
  28. ^ I Decided (April 22, 2008). Mp3 Downloads: Solange. Amazon.com. Accessed April 28, 2008.
  29. ^ a b Top Music Charts – Hot 100 – Billboard 200 – Music Genre Sales
  30. ^ "Solange > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  31. ^ Top Music Charts – Hot 100 – Billboard 200 – Music Genre Sales
  32. ^ Top Music Charts – Hot 100 – Billboard 200 – Music Genre Sales
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 17 August 2008 – 23 August 2008". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company (UK). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  34. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40 17 August 2008 – 23 August 2008". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company (UK). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  35. ^ "Champagne Chronik Nightcap – Single". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  36. ^ "Solange – Sandcastle Disco". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  37. ^ "Top Dance Music Chart – Billboard – December 20, 2008". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  38. ^ "T.O.N.Y. – Solange". AllMusic. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  39. ^ "Top Dance Music Chart – Billboard – May 2, 2009". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  40. ^ "Solange – Chart History – Adult R&B Chart". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  41. ^ "Solange – Chart History – R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  42. ^ "Solange – Chart History – Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  43. ^ "Wanna Go Back – Single by Solange on Apple Music". Apple Music. Apple Music (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  44. ^ "I Told You So Remixes HMV Digital". HMV Digital. HMV Digital (UK). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  45. ^ "Top Dance Music Chart – Billboard – August 28, 2010". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  46. ^ "Would've Been the One (The Remixes) HMV Digital". HMV Digital. HMV Digital (UK). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  47. ^ "Top Dance Music Chart – Billboard – October 17, 2009". Billboard. Billboard (US). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  48. ^ "6 O'Clock Blues (Remixes) – EP by Solange on Apple Music". Apple Music. Apple Music (UK). Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  49. ^ Levine, Nick (August 18, 2008). "Solange: 'Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams'". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  50. ^ Slezak, Michael. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on July 22, 2009.
  51. ^ a b Jones, Francis (September 11, 2008). "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams". Hot Press. Dublin.
  52. ^ Finney, Tim. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on July 22, 2009.
  53. ^ a b Rosen, Jody. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams at the Wayback Machine (archived March 17, 2009). Rolling Stone. Retrieved on November 18, 2012.
  54. ^ Anon. (August 15, 2008). "CD Review: Sol-Angel & The Hadley St Dreams". The Scotsman. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  55. ^ a b Elan, Priya (August 15, 2008). "Solange: Sol Angel and the Hadley St Dreams". The Times. London. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2012.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  56. ^ Harvilla, Rob. Review: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. The Village Voice. Retrieved on July 22, 2009.
  57. ^ "In her sister's shadow no more – The Boston Globe". Boston Globe. August 26, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  58. ^ Hartford Courant Review: Sol-Angel. Hartford Courant. Retrieved on December 31, 2008.
  59. ^ Gill, Jaimie. "Review of Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  60. ^ Murphy, Keith. "Volume Now: Solange Knowles". Vibe: 86–88. November 2008.
  61. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 2009). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  62. ^ SoL-AngeL and the Hadley Street Dreams on iTunes
  63. ^ SoL-AngeL and the Hadley Street Dreams on CircuitCity.com
  64. ^ Sol-Angel & the Hadley St. Dreams (Deluxe) by Solange on Apple Music
  65. ^ a b "Chart Log UK – Chart Coverage and Record Sales 2008". Zobbel. zobbel.de. Retrieved May 10, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]