Every artist hopes to capture the zeitgeist, to make the right record at the right time. Yet only a handful can claim to have given voice to a movement, as Solange did with A Seat at the Table. At once deeply personal and unapologetically political, the album offers an honest reflection on race and identity in America in the twilight of the Obama era. The album’s rousing message of black empowerment is set forth in no uncertain terms on “F.U.B.U.”—For us, this shit is for us—and feels more urgent than ever as we approach the end of this tumultuous decade.
More than just rage against the system, though, there’s a life-affirming joy in A Seat at the Table. On tracks like “Weary” and “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Solange rises above the insidious slights that come with moving through the world as a black woman, soaring toward a higher creative and emotional plane. That spiritual levity is buoyed by a series of conversational interludes, soul-bearing monologues from the singer’s friends and family. As Solange’s mother, Tina Knowles, opines, “It’s such beauty in black people.” –Chioma Nnadi / Pitchfork.com