When I Get Home (album)

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When I Get Home
A photo of Knowles' face with makeup across her eyes
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1, 2019 (2019-03-01)
Genre
Length39:01
LabelColumbia
Producer
Solange chronology
A Seat at the Table
(2016)
When I Get Home
(2019)

When I Get Home is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Solange, released on March 1, 2019.[1] It is the follow-up to her 2016 album A Seat at the Table and explores Solange Knowles' hometown of Houston, Texas.

Knowles produced the album alongside a variety of collaborators, including John Key, John Carrol Kirby, Standing on the Corner, Chassol, Jamire Williams and Pharrell. The album also features contributions from several high-profile musicians, including Sampha, Playboi Carti, Gucci Mane, Panda Bear, Tyler, the Creator, Metro Boomin, The-Dream, Abra, Dev Hynes, Steve Lacy, Earl Sweatshirt and Scarface.

Background and promotion[edit]

Knowles began working on the album in a rented house in her home-town of Houston, after completing a tour in support of her previous album A Seat at the Table.[2] In an October 2018 interview with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, she revealed that a forthcoming album, recorded between New Orleans, Houston, the Topanga Canyon and Jamaica, was near completion. She said of its sound: "There is a lot of jazz at the core... But with electronic and hip-hop drum and bass because I want it to bang and make your trunk rattle."[3]

On February 27, 2019, Knowles released a teaser video on social media, and shared the album's track listing on February 28.[4] The video references the Houston rapper Mike Jones and his well-known cell phone number.[5] She also set up a page on BlackPlanet, a social networking website aimed at African Americans, and shared teaser images for the album on the site.[6]

Composition[edit]

The album blends "cosmic" jazz, hip hop and R&B,[7][8][9] and has also been described as psychedelic soul,[8] "new-age trap"[10] and a "drowsy funk throwdown".[11] It is also influenced by chopped and screwed hip hop originating from Knowles' home-town of Houston, as well as drum and bass.[12] The album has been described as an ode to Houston's hip hop scene, and is narrated by a range of sampled African-American women from its Third Ward, where Knowles grew up.[13] In writing the album, Knowles was inspired by the use of repetition in Stevie Wonder's The Secret Life of Plants as well as music by Steve Reich, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra. She also noted that the album was more focused on what she had to "feel", compared to A Seat at the Table's focus on what she had to "say".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.1/10[14]
Metacritic89/100[15]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[16]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[17]
Entertainment WeeklyA[11]
Financial Times4/5 stars[18]
The Guardian3/5 stars[19]
The Independent4/5 stars[20]
NME5/5 stars[9]
Pitchfork8.4/10[21]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[22]
Uncut9/10[23]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 89, based on 22 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".

Reviewing the album for AllMusic, Andy Kellman claimed that "From the early moment where Solange makes like a group of harmonizing, sunlit Janet Jacksons, it sounds custom made for a basking joy ride that tops out around 20 m.p.h. and slows just enough to accommodate get-ons and drop-offs for a variable group of companions including a lover. It comes across as both spontaneous and deliberate."[16] Malvika Padin also praised the album in the review for Clash magazine, declaring that "The album is driven by an assured sense of direction, always aware of where it’s going, never losing itself even as it experiments."[24] In the review for Consequence of Sound, David Sackllah concluded, "Solange’s latest mystifies and stuns, leaving you awestruck as she cements her legacy as a true generational voice."[12]

Israel Daramola at Spin wrote that the album "is expertly crafted, curated, and aesthetically dazzling; choreographed, extremely self-serious and self-absorbed; intellectualized, sonically adventurous, but often feels too rehearsed and neat."[25] Kuba Shand-Baptiste at The Independent stated that it "give[s] voice to the endless frustration of being black in the world, to be punished on that basis, and to support the urge we all often feel to push back against it all". She added that "there are melodies slow enough to sink you into a state of tranquility, and beats hard and strong enough to push you to sway and dance while that happens".[20]

Jem Aswad at Variety wrote that "When I Get Home is a challenging and satisfying follow-up to A Seat at the Table, one that will probably baffle some fans but intrigue and engage even more".[26] Jon Pareles at The New York Times observed, "The black solidarity that was Solange's strongest message on A Seat at the Table is still there in 'Stay Flo' and in 'Almeda,' where she praises 'Black skin, black braids, black waves, black days' and insists, 'These are black-owned things' over rattlesnake drum-machine accents. But most of the album has her musing on more private, domestic matters and looking inward".[27]

The Guardian defined the album as 'The Snapchat Album', because "Solange has made a record that sounds at times like a collection of demos – fleeting impressions of fluid, contemporary soul songs that fizzle out the moment they’re laid down, like a Snapchat album. It’s in keeping with the increasingly avant-garde nature of R&B production today, which can be heard in everyone from Frank Ocean to Ariana Grande: songs feel like sketches; hooks and choruses matter less; and music is conceived, perhaps, with visuals in mind – in the manner of Beyoncé’s "Lemonade". This kind of music demands a lot of the listener – short songs are harder on the attention span than long ones. It’s as though Solange is saying: here is a mood, and here is another… but perhaps, with our increasingly insular listening habits, a “mood” is exactly what we want our music to be."[28]

Film[edit]

Directed and edited by Solange, the creative vision behind the 33-minute film was inspired in part by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Music director Alan Ferguson, filmmaker Terence Nance, visual artist Jacolby Satterwhite, and video director Ray Tintori contributed to the editing process with additional credit given to Autumn Knight and Robert Pruitt, according to Pitchfork.

"The film is an exploration of origin, asking the question how much of ourselves do we bring with us versus leave behind in our evolution,” Solange’s representatives said in a statement. “The artist returned to Third Ward Houston to answer this."[29]

The film accompanies all seventeen tracks in one continuous narrative or visual album with various aspects dedicated to Houston's history including its hip-hop scene, for instance, the chopped and screwed remix style and mixtapes of DJ Screw. The 17th track "Sound of Rain" is accompanied by a surreal, game-world animation akin to Second Life that features original artwork by Satterwhite.

Solange premiered the film in nine local venues for members of the Black Houston community including "her mother’s old hair salon; Unity National Bank, the only black owned Texas banking institution; and Emancipation Gym the only public park open to African Americans in the Jim Crow era."[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

When I Get Home debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200 with 43,000 album-equivalent units (of which 11,000 were pure album sales). It is Knowles' third US top 10 album.[31]

Track listing[edit]

When I Get Home[32][33][34]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Things I Imagined"Solange Knowles
  • Knowles
  • Chassol
  • John Key
1:59
2."S McGregor" (interlude)
0:16
3."Down with the Clique"Knowles
  • Knowles
  • John Carroll Kirby
  • Key
  • Standing on the Corner[a]
3:42
4."Way to the Show"Knowles
  • Key
  • Knowles
  • Kirby
2:55
5."Can I Hold the Mic" (interlude)
  • Knowles
  • Chassol
  • Knowles
  • Chassol
0:22
6."Stay Flo"Knowles
2:56
7."Dreams"Knowles
2:28
8."Nothing Without Intention" (interlude)
  • Knowles
  • Julez Smith II
  • Cortez
  • Amber Venerable
  • Raquel Egbuonu
  • Standing on the Corner
  • Knowles
  • Daniel Julez J Smith II
0:24
9."Almeda" (guest appearance by Playboi Carti)
3:56
10."Time (Is)" (guest appearance by Sampha)
  • Knowles
  • Key
  • Kirby
3:40
11."My Skin My Logo" (guest appearance by Gucci Mane)
2:56
12."We Deal with the Freak'n" (intermission)KnowlesKnowles0:32
13."Jerrod"Knowles
  • Knowles
  • Key
  • Kirby
3:02
14."Binz"
  • Knowles
  • The-Dream
1:51
15."Beltway"Knowles
  • Knowles
  • Kirby
1:41
16."Exit Scott" (interlude)
  • Cortez
  • Lacy
  • Key
  • Knowles
  • Standing on the Corner
  • Lacy
  • Key
  • Knowles
1:01
17."Sound of Rain"Knowles
  • Knowles
  • Pharrell
  • Key
3:06
18."Not Screwed!" (interlude; guest appearance by Standing on the Corner)
Standing on the Corner0:22
19."I'm a Witness"Knowles
  • Knowles
  • Key
1:52
Total length:39:01

Notes

  • ^[a] – outro only
  • ^[b] – guest lyrics and melodies only

Spoken vocal samples

Personnel[edit]

Musicians

  • Solange Knowles – performance
  • Tyler, the Creator – additional vocals (tracks 3, 10, and 11), additional keyboards (track 3)
  • Cassie – additional vocals (track 4)
  • John Key – additional keyboards (track 5)
  • Peter Lee Johnson – bass (track 6)
  • Devin the Dude – additional vocals (track 7)
  • Raphael Saadiq – additional bass (track 7)
  • John Carroll Kirby – Moog (track 7)
  • Metro Boomin – additional vocals (track 9)
  • Panda Bear – additional vocals (tracks 10, 15, and 19)
  • Sampha – additional vocals (track 10)
  • The-Dream – additional vocals (track 14)
  • Scarface – vocals (track 16), additional vocals (track 18)
  • Abra – additional vocals (track 17)
  • Steve Lacy – additional vocals (track 17)

Technical

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[35] 17
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[36] 18
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[37] 165
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[38] 16
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[39] 21
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[40] 19
French Albums (SNEP)[41] 84
Irish Albums (IRMA)[42] 44
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[43] 26
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[44] 46
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[45] 27
UK Albums (OCC)[46] 18
US Billboard 200[31] 7

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeVille, Chris (February 28, 2019). "Solange Shares Apparent Tracklist For New Album Possibly Titled When I Get Home". Stereogum. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Minsker, Evan; Yoo, Noah (March 4, 2018). "Solange Talks New Album When I Get Home: Collaborations, Inspirations, Production, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  3. ^ Mathis, Ayana (October 15, 2018). "Solange, the Polymathic Cultural Force". T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Darville, Jordan (February 28, 2019). "Solange appears to share new album tracklist". The Fader. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Ch, Devin (February 28, 2019). "Solange Drops Tracklist For Hotly Anticipated New Album". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Daniels, Simone (February 27, 2019). "Solange Announces Black Planet Website Takeover". The Source. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Maitland, Hayley (March 1, 2019). "Solange's Surprise Album "When I Get Home" is Pure Genius". Vogue. Retrieved March 1, 2019. When I Get Home merges jazz, hip-hop, R&B
  8. ^ a b Thomas, Chris (March 6, 2018). "Meet the Creatives That Helped Shape Solange's Iconic New Album". Highsnobiety. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Williams, Kyann-Sian (March 4, 2019). "Solange – 'When I Get Home' review". NME. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  10. ^ Wilson, Carl (March 4, 2019). "Solange's New Album Reclaims New Age Music as Black Music". Slate. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Johnston, Maura (March 5, 2019). "Solange finds space to dream on When I Get Home". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Sackllah, David (March 7, 2018). "Solange Delivers a Stunning Love Letter to Houston on When I Get Home". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Kim, Michelle (March 1, 2019). "5 Takeaways From Solange's New Album, When I Get Home". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  14. ^ "When I Get Home by Solange reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "When I Get Home by Solange Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "When I Get Home – Solange". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  17. ^ Kot, Greg (March 6, 2019). "Solange puts mood ahead of songs on 'When I Get Home'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  18. ^ Cundy, Antonia (March 4, 2019). "Solange: When I Get Home — a surprise drop with a new direction". Financial Times. Retrieved April 14, 2019. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  19. ^ Petridis, Alexis (March 1, 2019). "Solange: When I Get Home review – lose yourself in Knowles' hazy vision". The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Shand-Baptiste, Kuba (March 3, 2019). "Solange, When I Get Home, review: An uplifting antidote to the painful reality black people face". The Independent. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Mistry, Anupa (March 5, 2018). "Solange: When I Get Home". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  22. ^ Spanos, Brittany (March 5, 2019). "Review: Solange's 'When I Get Home' is a Therapeutic Tribute to Her Native Houston". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  23. ^ "Solange: When I Get Home". Uncut (264): 32. May 2019.
  24. ^ Padin, Malvika (March 4, 2018). "Solange – When I Get Home". Clash. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "Solange's 'When I Get Home' Is Proudly Enigmatic". Spin. 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  26. ^ Aswad, Jem (March 3, 2019). "Album Review: Solange's 'When I Get Home'". Variety. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  27. ^ Pareles, Jon (March 6, 2019). "Album Review: Solange Defies Pop Expectations on 'When I Get Home'". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Mossman, Kate (2019-03-09). "Solange: When I Get Home – the Snapchat album". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  29. ^ Nast, Condé. "Solange Drops New When I Get Home Film: Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  30. ^ Kaimin, Noelle Huser / Montana. "Solange's 'When I Get Home' provides Southern surrealism". Montana Kaimin. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  31. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (March 10, 2019). "Hozier Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart With 'Wasteland, Baby!'". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  32. ^ Minsker, Evan (March 1, 2019). "Solange's New Album When I Get Home Full Credits: Panda Bear, Earl, Tyler, Gucci Mane, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  33. ^ Arcand, Rob (March 1, 2019). "Solange's When I Get Home Credits Earl Sweatshirt, Panda Bear, Pharrell, More". Spin. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  34. ^ "When I Get Home / Solange". Tidal. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  35. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Solange – When I Get Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – Solange – When I Get Home" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  37. ^ "Ultratop.be – Solange – When I Get Home" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  38. ^ "Solange Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  39. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – Solange – When I Get Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  40. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Solange – When I Get Home" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  41. ^ "Lescharts.com – Solange – When I Get Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  42. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 8 March 2019". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  43. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Solange – When I Get Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  44. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Solange – When I Get Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  45. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Solange – When I Get Home". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  46. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 9, 2019.