It must be hard being Solange Knowles. Never a part of Destiny’s Child, and shadowed by a sister whose career will probably forever outshine and outsell her own. Go down the belting R&B route and risk unfair comparison at every turn (Sol-Angel and the Hadley St Dreams deserved better); go too far the other way and end up being, well, LaToya Jackson.
Anyone who follows Knowles Jr on Twitter knows that this woman is a strong, formidable voice in her own right, politically and musically. So it comes as no surprise that she’s essentially stuck two fingers up toward expectation and done the only thing integrity will allow – explore her musical taste, mine the influences (which include Dev Hynes, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors), and meld them with her own sensibilities to create music that’s wholly original, never derivative.
The EP plays out like an absolute dream, challenging R&B convention with dark, moody beats yet still keeping rooted in the essentials of 80s soul. If Losing You recalled Richie, then Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work, Locked in Closets, and Don’t Let Me Down represent Whitney and Aaliyah with added funk. Elsewhere, Lovers in the Parking Lot begins as a leftfield missive, only to drop spectacularly commercial R&B choruses; the beauty lies in this dichotomy being rendered irrelevant by the end of each track.
Sadly we don’t live in a climate where this would be chart-bothering stuff, but then it isn’t meant to be. It’s just cracking, exquisitely produced music. TRUE isn’t so much an album title as what Solange is being to herself, and we’re all the better off for it.