Since its digital release less than a week ago, singer-songwriter Solange’s third studio album has received widespread critical acclaim. It received a 90/100 on Metacritic and between four and four and a half stars in The Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and Idolator. “A Seat at the Table” is a beautiful and powerful piece of art.
Here are a few things musicians can learn from it:
1. Send a powerful message or make a strong statement.
Solange has stated that some songs on the album were inspired by protests after incidents of police violence in Baltimore and Ferguson. Other songs were inspired by the fruitless feelings of attempting to alleviate pain in unhealthy ways.
When writing music, don’t be afraid to make strong statements, give strong opinions, or send powerful messages. Never be afraid to write about things that are otherwise difficult to discuss. Be honest when writing music and listeners will respond well to it, as they did with Solange.
2. Take control.
Solange almost completely wrote and arranged every song on, “A Seat at the Table,” before she approached producers to finish them.
When creating an album, do not hesitate to take initiative and creative control; it’s your music and you don’t necessarily always need to look to others for guidance in relation to it. If it feels right, take control.
3. Include strong visuals.
Shortly after, “A Seat at the Table” was released, two accompanying music videos for the songs, “Cranes in the Sky,” and “Don’t Touch My Hair,” were released. The videos are striking, aesthetically appealing, and simple in ways that complement the songs and the album as a whole.
Visuals can add a whole new dimension to an album; use visuals to support your messages and add a new artistic element.
Solange’s, “A Seat at the Table” effectively uses music to send powerful messages and convey her artistic vision.
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Jana is a Communication Studies major and French Studies minor at the University of San Francisco. She loves Mac DeMarco, Beyonce, and the ocean.