Can I Get a Wowsers
by Reza Corinne Clifton
Originally posted at www.VenusSings.com
PROVIDENCE, RI - So I picked up a bunch of music recently - thank you Looney Tunes II in Wakefield, RI and Amazon.com - and I’ve definitely got feedback already. I’m not going to list all of my new selections because you can find most of them on www.venussings.com, on a post called “It’s Time: Music I’m Searching For.”
What I will say, though, is that I am really impressed with the new release by Solange Knowles and an old one from Amy Winehouse. I’ll be back with a write-up about Amy’s “Frank” album, but for now, I’ll tell you a bit more about the one from Ms. Knowles.
Solange Presents: Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
First, let me start in a way that will be clear for some, vague to others: Solange’s newest album might be up there with Estelle’s “Shine.” Translation - every track falls on a scale from good to amazing.
Now, a warning. Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams starts out with “God Given Name,” a song I originally judged as a self-gratifying temper tantrum about what makes her different from her sister (the famed diva, Beyonce). But undeniable even in this track is the instantaneous reactions of intrigue and satisfaction caused by the smooth, bass guitar-lilted, Portishead-esque background production and the oscillation of Solange’s vocals, which stretch, coo, and even dance, at times, with rhythms reminiscient of a poet or hip hop emcee. Her comfort in a post-pop, post-hip hop world of neo-funk, -soul, and -motown are as transparent as the love stories, personal triumphs, and eclectic yearnings she shares in her lyrics.
And even in terms of track one, I’ve always had a little room for raw emotion and hystrionics; think Kelis and her song and refrain, “I hate you so much right now.”
Venus Sings and Solange on WRIU
It was hard to select the songs I might share during my next appearance on WRIU, 90.3 FM (January 24), but a few did float to the surface: “Would’ve Been the One,” and “I Decided - Part 1.”
Would’ve Been The One starts out with a simple yet bold little piano line and an angelic exultation of the word, “well,” only to reveal a layered, heavy, motown diddy with Solange’s voice moving from flirty to the Supremes to just plain aching. It’s fierce, intimate, and emotionally accessible. I Decided has a similar, old-school feel to it, but it is more fun and upbeat; think doo wap and unconsciously falling into a Frankie and Annette, beach blanket bingo type of dance.
The album is eclectic, souliscous, and surprising. I can’t wait to bring some of it to the masses; I hope you’ll tune in on the 24th.
To read other music-related reviews or rants, or for up-to-the minute updates about Reza Rites on WRIU, visit www.VenusSings.com. The February Voices of Women schedule is posted!