We all love Beyoncé. It's practically engrained in our cultural fabric at this point. But what about Beyoncé's incredibly talented, sorely underappreciated younger sister, Solange?
While Beyoncé crafts incredible mainstream pop, Solange has created an EP, True, that draws from the mainstream and places it in the margins. True is a refreshing, stripped-down take on what we've become accustomed to in pop music. And I'm not the only one who thinks so; True ended up on many year-end lists and Solange is currently touring with sold out shows and snagged the cover of the February/March issue of Fader.
I want the Knowles sisters to take over pop culture. Judging from this EP, I don't think that's going to be a problem.
Solange first dropped the single, "Losing You" in October. It's a dreamy, pop confection—equal parts upbeat and melancholy as Solange wants an answer from her guy on whether their relationship is over. It also has an incredible, South African-set, print-filled music video.
True quietly launched in November. I listened to it on repeat at least 4 times a day for the next month. "Losing You" is the amuse bouche of True. Filled with songs recounting lost loves, break ups, and the uncertainty of those relationships, True's sound reminds me of 80s pop and 90s R&B like SWV, Brandy and one of my all-time favorites, "My Boo" by Ghost Town DJ's.
The EP is produced and co-written by Dev Hynes (whose solo work Blood Orange lies very much in the same vein as True) and while the whole EP is terrific, standouts include the smooth dance beat and crush yearning of "Locked in Closets," the Jimmy John's origins of a relationship in "Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work," and "Lovers in the Parking Lot" where she analyzes her own part in the end of a relationship to a slow, breezy beat. While it focuses on relationships, the EP never conveys the feeling that she can't go on without a certain person or that she has been defined by men.
It's the kind of album that makes you want to dance around in your sun-filled bedroom or listen to while driving home with the windows down from a night out. It's also the album that you want to gather your Galentine's Day ladies together and spend the night dancing to True over cocktails.
If the EP doesn't satiate your thirst, don't worry: Solange is working on her next album. In a story for last week's Entertainment Weekly, she discusses her next move. "It's definitely going to be more a soul record, and I think I'm going to attack a lot more social issues."
Imagining the musical components of the current EP plus soul plus looking at social issues equals an album that I'm going to be counting down the days for. While True plays on repeat in the background of course.