Mapping the Musical Influences of Solange’s When I Get Home

With her deeply significant 2016 album A Seat on the Table, a report that captured the realities present as a black lady in a society that persistently and unforgivingly comes down on them, Solange Knowles turned her ache into an embodiment magnificence — an album magnificence and actualized inventive imaginative and prescient. On her flash-released comply with up When I Get Home, which arrived on March 1 with little discover, she explored what it means to be a black lady in relation to Houston, the town through which she was raised and that she revisits as a approach understanding the girl she’s develop into. She does so with out the crystallized focus and manicured songwriting its predecessor, to nice impact: When I Get Home is a mosaic concepts and inspirations, strung collectively over 19 tracks. For the set, she returned to earlier collaborators, together with Pharrell Williams, John Carroll Kirby and Raphael Saadiq, and welcomed inspiration from Stevie Wonder, Sun Ra, and Alice Coltrane. Listeners open to exploring the lineage the album will discover a huge musical world properly price exploring.

Stevie Wonder, Innervisions

The considerable social-media comparisons to Wonder’s genius stretch albums launched between 1972 and 1976 are becoming. Just previous to the run that culminated within the career-defining Songs within the Key Life, Wonder had renegotiated his take care of Motown to permit full inventive freedom in an unprecedented settlement that spawned some probably the most important music our time. Unencumbered by inventive restrictions herself, Solange stated that When I Get Home is impressed particularly by a report simply outdoors that time-frame — she pointed to 1979’s sprawling Journey Through the Secret Life Plants — however the burly synthesizers that thread all through the report recall that Innervisions, with touches the experimental jazz-leaning preparations Fulfillingness’ First Finale. From the opening notes “Things I Imagined” to the bitter bass notes punctuating “Jerrod,” Wonder’s manifestation lives like a shadow all through.

Raphael Saadiq, Instant Vintage

Saadiq is a soul and R&B veteran, and it’s solely becoming that he seems within the liner notes for enjoying bass on “Dreams.” His presence on A Seat on the Table was much more important — he served as an govt producer — and whereas his contribution to When I Get Home is actually understated, it harnesses the identical nostalgic crackle his 2002 solo album Instant Vintage, a report that obtained considerably misplaced amid the neo-soul burnout however stands as one the period’s most enduring.

Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part One (Fourth World War)

A constant power in melting down the conventions R&B and soul, Badu adopted the trippy, legs-stretched Worldwide Underground EP with the mind-warping New Amerykah Part One (Fourth World War), a political mission that paid little thoughts to music construction or conventional observe size. It’s onerous to not discover the similarities: On the interlude “Can I Hold the Mic,” Solange speaks as background keys hint her vocals in rhythm and time, simply as a trumpet did with Badu on the finish “Me.”

N.E.R.D., In Search Of …

Alongside Chad Hugo and Shay Haley, Pharrell Williams helped actualize the mainstream potential a hip-hop band with their mission N.E.R.D. (The Roots, course, have been the foremost pioneers this motion.) Williams labored with Solange way back to her 2003 debut Solo Star, however they didn’t appear to search out their groove till he helmed the doo-wop-indebted “I Decided, Part 1,” the lead single f her impeccable breakthrough, 2008’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Williams returns for standout “Almeda” and “Sound Rain,” and whereas the relation between N.E.R.D.’s seminal In Search Of … is tenuous, it actually looks like a unfastened blueprint for the analog really feel When I Get Home.

Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy

The former Odd Future entrance man has been a Pharrell acolyte because the starting his profession, and you’ll hear it in his manufacturing. Flower Boy (2017) leans closely on seventh chords and synths that might simply be sourced from a Neptunes pattern pack. He graces three tracks on When I Get Home, supplying vocals on “Time (Is)” and “Down With the Clique” (he performs keys on the latter). He additionally serves as a co-producer on “My Skin My Logo,” which touts a bass-plucked backing that wouldn’t really feel out place on one his information.

Standing on the Corner, Red Burns

Brooklyn group Standing on the Corner performs a major function on When I Get Home, lending manufacturing to 4 its interludes and the disorienting, time-signature-shifting “Down With the Clique.” Some the art-house veneer When I Get Home could be traced to the psych-jazz and free-associative nature their 2017 album Red Burns, which performs prefer it exploded out a tab acid.

Blood Orange, Negro Swan

The working relationship between Blood Orange (a.okay.a. Devonte Hynes) and Solange reaches again to the latter’s career-turning True EP, which was launched in 2012 and revealed her extra progressive aspect. Hynes, who joined Sampha, Kelsey Lu, and Master P on A Seat on the Table’s “Interlude: This Moment,” has centered many his tasks on the struggles the black expertise, notably about black melancholy on final 12 months’s Negro Swan, which carries the same fluidity to When I Get Home.

Family Circle, The Family Circle

When I Get Home invokes the Delfonics–adjoining stylings Family Circle on “Exit Scott (Interlude),” which samples the stacked vocals “I Hope You Really Love Me” that opened their 1973 album The Family Circle. The set, reissued by soul revivalists Numero Group in 2014, is an unsurprising supply for Solange, whose appreciation for the classics has rung true by way of her discography.

John Carroll Kirby, Travel

Los Angeles–based mostly composer, producer, and keyboardist John Carroll Kirby, who seems on A Seat on the Table, additionally performs a pivotal function in When I Get Home. He’s concerned in 9 the album’s 19 tracks. His fingerprints are in every single place: from the swoon the Moog on “Dreams” to the glassy keys buzzing on “Beltway.” Travel, the primary two solo albums to Kirby’s identify, is an instrumental odyssey with a gently trotting gait that recollects his work on Home, placid as an off-the-cuff pay attention with way more beneath the floor.

Earl Sweatshirt, Some Rap Songs

Sweatshirt sorted by way of trauma and loss on his 2018 album Some Rap Songs, praised for its frayed edges and scattershot sound. He additionally defined that the report was supposed for black listeners: “It’s for a particular equation,” he explained. His perspective lends itself to When I Get Home, a report about being black in relation to the house through which it exists, and in addition touts him as co-producer on the meditatively nostalgic “Dreams.”

Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidananda

In the wake her husband John Coltrane’s demise, Alice Coltrane evoked types and sounds endemic to Africa and India for Journey in Satchidananda, which was launched in 1971. The avant-garde parts to the five-track report are grounded by Coltrane’s ebullient, arpeggiating harp strums, which dart out and in time signature as Pharoah Sanders’ soprano saxophone performs in opposition to it. As difficult as it could appear, it radiates pleasantry and tranquility at each flip. Solange talked about that she listened to Coltrane surrounding the making When I Get Home, and it reveals.

Madvillain, Madvillainy

The comparisons to Madvillain’s attention-deficit masterpiece Madvillainy rolled in following the discharge When I Get Home with good measure. MF DOOM and Madlib constructed a world unto itself, strung along with loosely shaped and individually sturdy concepts pieced by way of discovered audio and tentimes frenzied manufacturing topped with rhymes that ten ran f the runway the time signatures. (J Dilla’s Donuts exists on this world, too.) It’s within the DNA Solange’s newest, which opts for temper and vibe over absolutely shaped, conventionally organized songs.

Amel Larrieux, Morning

There’s a definite parallel between Solange and Amel Larrieux, previously one half ’90s R&B duo Groove Theory and a neo-souldier turned reinventive R&B scion. It lies within the aesthetic the music itself: fluttering vocals matched with preparations that, whereas ten spare, carry depth and heat. Morning, Larrieux’s third solo album that launched in 2006, aligns most with When I Get Home not simply within the informal method and insular vibe they inhabit — each albums are testaments to their shared means to transmute R&B conventions whereas placing new floor.

Sun Ra, Sleeping Beauty


Solange credited Sun Ra as one the principle inventive sources for When I Get Home, and whereas it’s onerous to discern the place precisely her report falls on the sprawling experimental jazz musician’s discography spectrum, the compass factors to 1979’s Sleeping Beauty, one his most textured and readily accessible releases. From the hymnal singing, handclaps and velveteen keys that begin f “Door Cosmos,” its presence is felt on tracks like “Exit Scott (Interlude)” and the ambling “Down With the Clique.”