Anecdotally, I can conjure up the exact first time I heard a lot of great albums. Blonde takes me back to working with the citizen journalism app Fresco News – which still owes me $3000 in back-pay, though that is neither here, nor there – a good friend and videographer of mine Jesse Moritz invited me to listen at his crib because he had good weed and Apple Music – I have Spotify and seem to suffer endlessly for it (pun intended)
I was on a cramped overnight bus from Pittsburgh to New York the first time I heard Childish Gambino’s Awaken My Love! I ran home after a closing shift at the Bean Coffee shop to listen to Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly – it leaked a week early I believe.
Each of these albums and more – including Moses Sumney’s Aromanticism, King Krule’s The Ooz – are cohesive bodies of work that have moved me on a molecular level.
So, at about 5:30 am on March 1, 2019, when I was opening the Bean Coffee Shop in Williamsburg, on the grind – putting down chairs, grinding hazelnut coffee, turning on espresso machines – and I play Solange’s When I Get Home, fully expecting something spiritual to happen, as it does.
My favorite song is Dreams because I am a Pisces – Dreamer of sorts – and I take my dreams, and dreams in general, very serious. I’ve been trying to accomplish a lot lately, creatively and this is one of those songs that nurtures that spirit of positive thinking.
A salient point of this essay is to say that some albums speak to you and ask you to listen to them before you ever press play.
From the rhythmic repetition of songs like ‘Things I Imagined’ and ‘Dreams’ to the funkadelic fire of jams like ‘Way to the Show’, Solo’s newest album is spiritually, spirit-moving, relevant, important, and memorable because it captures a nuanced sensuality of black folk, soul music, new age synth-infused production, a truly comprehensive meshing of genres. Pop? R&B? Rap?
Truly with contributions from Gucci Mane, Playboy Carti, Odd Future Alumni Tyler The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, When I Get Home is worth a thousand listens because the cohesion is accompanied with relevant conversation.
“Can I Hold the Mic’ Interlude, one of six interludes over a thirty-six-minute album – goes “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations…”
Indeed, this is a deeply conversational effort. Solange speaks to creative minds like hers as much as anyone who is listening. There are motifs for black women, for lovers, for people from Houston. Personally, I think I’m geeked over it because in the half hour, plus change of my first listen, I could feel it of this. I’m working this tough job and music is something that keeps me going. My routine of opening involves some solitude, listening to music, preferably albums. Solo is a permanent staple in that rotation.
Sorry it took so long to share these thoughts. More music. More life!