By Eddy “Precise” Lamarre
Solange has released her most ambitious effort yet with When I Get Home. This project represents an electronic exercise in expression and takes the listener through different portals of Solange’s mind.
Solange dropped her previous project, A Seat at the Table, at the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, and it represents a cultural touchstone. When I Get Home has Houston, Blackness and spirituality at its center. The songs emanate from a thoughtfulness that is deliberate, and each song flows as one stream of consciousness for 39 minutes.
The project features 19 songs and a who’s who of the culture shows up to support. Gucci Mane, Scarface, Devin The Dude, The-Dream and Tyler, the Creator lend their talents to the endeavor. Pharrell Williams, Raphael Saadiq, Earl Sweatshirt, Metro Boomin, Panda Bear and John Key add their ingredients to the stew and create a delicious and sonically robust gumbo.
When I Get Home opens the door to the mind of an artist who is not constrained. On the “Can I Hold the Mic (interlude)” Solange muses, “I can’t be a singular expression of myself there’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers, so many….”
A standout song on the album, “Binz,” may resonate with Solange’s more casual fans. She spits a bouncy cadence to a rhythmic baseline while she laments driving down this popular street in Houston. On the Pharrell-produced “Almeda,” we hear Solange celebrating all things Black unapologetically and serve as a reminder of the greatness that Black people possess.
The two songs mentioned above sound great standing alone, but the true power of this project is hearing those songs in the context of the album. In a singles-driven industry, Solange has managed to provide us with a project that makes it necessary to sit with it to tap into the full scope of her genius.
When I Get Home is to Solange what Electric Circus was to Common. It is a bold experimentation that will enrich her and her fan base as she continues to evolve as an artist and a human being.