Solange ‘True' (Terrible Records)
After a forgettable 2003 debut that sounded a whole lot like Destiny's Child outtakes, Solange Knowles spent a decade trying to prove she is not the Frank Stallone or Joey Travolta of modern soul. By the end of the decade, Solange was establishing indie rock credibility by collaborating with Of Montreal and covering Dirty Projectors' “Stillness is the Move,” finally making music that did not immediately invite comparison to older sister Beyonce. Now signed to Grizzly Bear member Chris Taylor's Terrible Records, Solange's new EP “True” creates a nexus point between Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' mid-1980s sugary soul and English synth-pop of the same era.
That comparison is most apt on opening song “Losing You,” which evokes New Order's “Thieves Like Us” and Janet Jackson's Jam-Lewis heyday in equal measures — the song is pure joy set to big, synthetic beats. Working with Lightspeed Champion's Devonte Hynes, Solange and her producer plant a huge hook at the center of “Lovers in the Parking Lot” and hang an ornate tapestry of choral vocals behind the gorgeous “Don't Let Me Down.”
Solange closes out the EP with “Bad Girls,” a slow jam powered by a classic Roland 808 beat and a sinuous bass courtesy of Earth Wind and Fire's Verdine White — a can't-lose rhythm for a singer exploring the sounds that reigned when she was a toddler. Most importantly, her voice has developed elasticity and nuances since she first debuted — Solange is worthy of the material on “True” and proves that she can make it on her own.
— George Lang