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Sunday, August 17, 2008
8:17 PM



The more I see and hear of Solange, the more I’m open to supporting her despite initial calls for an attitude transplant. As much as she hates being compared to her sister, the Beyoncé trophy-destroyer should be all the more thankful to be kin to her. In terms of conventional looks and sound, Beyoncé wins hands down. But in what typically matters most to music lovers (growth, sincerity), Black Ashlee Simpson is killing it…and I think that will ultimately help her.

Solange is essentially the artist I think Beyoncé was aiming to be before “Work It Out” tanked. I’m not really blown away with “Sandcastle Disco” the same way I am with “I Decided,” but this is a dope video. It’s fun, it’s creative, and it sets her a part from all of the cookie-cutter R&B chicks who rely more on their tits and thighs to get by than anything pointing to actual artistry. Not that tits and thighs are bad, it’s just when you sing like you’ve been smoking since conception distractions can only go so far, no?

The video even makes me tolerate the song a little more. I think you have to be more into indie pop, or end all of your sentences with the word “mate” to really enjoy a song like this, but I can get into a little bit more thanks to the video…I guess. I just like songs with more oomph is all.

I don’t know, “Sandcastle Disco” sounds like a song title you come up with when you’re high. I wouldn’t doubt if it she recorded a track called “Seafood Safari” in the future.

Another thing I’ve noticed about Solange is how much she’s evolved as a performer. You can’t really tell on a lot of the songs that have leaked thus far because they were apparently recorded before she signed with Geffen, but she has grown as a vocalist.

On a lot of the recorded tracks she’s singing too hard, but live she sounds a lot smoother. And she has a lot of her sister’s charisma. But what separates her from the other 12 members of Destiny’s Child is that she seems less contained on stage.

Take for example how she handled this drunk bamma on stage. I can easily see Beyoncé p-poppin’ as security beats the hell out of the man on stage without even giving the guy a second look. By incorporating that fool into the act, she just seems more fun, more personable, less like a damn robot.

While I’ve talked my shit (for good reason) on the blog, I did actually buy Solange’s first album. It cost about the same as a wing dinner, so I didn’t mind. It was OK for what it was, but you can tell at the time she didn’t know who she was an artist.

This go ‘round you see a person in control of their look and sound and whether you like it or not, she’s doing her (or what she wants herself to be), and I appreciate the effort. I hope she at least gets some praise for that.

I really don’t like a lot of the R&B singers out now, particularly the females. So many of them allow men to define them by writing their songs, which is why they’re often limited in their subject matter. If I went by most mainstream R&B songs, I would think most women treat their coochie’s like an automatic coupon to DSW.

All of this boasting of materialism and equating it with love or self-worth among women and men alike is annoying. Even if this girl is using sand metaphors to get her point across, it’s better than, “taste me, taste me, then you gotta lace me.”

I haven’t heard her album yet, but I hope it’s at least a slow and steady seller. “I Decided” is a great song, yet it’s not getting any spins on radio. The irony of it all is I can almost guarantee if someone white like Duffy or Amy Crackhouse were singing it, it’d be at least Top 40 by now.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a Beyoncé bashing post. I still miss Beyoncé, but we need a balance. Everyone can’t look, pop, and wig the same. Besides, Beyonce can actually sing, which is more than I can say than half of these chicks whose greatest talent is lying on their back. Hi, Cassie.

Maybe Solange does have a chip on her shoulder. Or maybe she’s just misunderstood (stifles laugher). And maybe she does try too hard, but I’d rather fool with someone that tries too hard than someone who doesn’t try at all.

The Cynical Ones.
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