Aiming to give her big sister, the famous Beyonce, a run for her money, Solange Knowles’ newest effort, the EP True provides a look into a kaleidoscope of sounds. Knowles gain notoriety, and rightfully so, for running forward musically and diving headfirst into a new spectrum of sounds.
Released in November, the project acts as an extension of Solange advancing the sounds of Afro-cubano in the ’90’s and synth funk of the ’80’s. Having originally explored aspects of funk and soul on her sophomore album, Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams, the EP takes such an aesthetic and turns the volume all the way to ten, reiterating Knowles’ place as the forever ‘cool’ it-girl in music.
The lead single, “Losing You”, which can be heard below, offers a brilliant video set to the themes of youth and adventure. The song captures the romanticism behind troubled love gained and trouble loved tragically lost. The video, itself, can qualify for one of the best of the year, bringing a taste of Africana spirit to the forefront of visuals.
A production done by Dev Hynes, who handles all of the production on True, “Losing You” offers all the romantic aura of the ’80’s and more. There’s a very young spirit to the song, reminiscent of one’s teenage years, sneaking out in the middle of a summer’s night to meet up with a forbidden love.
The song then brings up to summer’s end, where the relationship is coming undone with lyrics like, “I gave you everything / And now there’s nothing for me / I’m not the one that you should be making your enemy”. The confrontation of lost love hits hard as Solange whispers in the hook. “Tell me the truth, boy, am I losing you for good?”, she coos.
Such a spirit in present on the rest of True. Track 2 on the EP, “Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work”, sees Hynes and Knowles do a call and return, reliving old love to a classic bumping bass with Knowles gliding over the production. There’s an extravagance the seeps from the song’s pours.
Further deep into the EP, “Locked In Closests” offers Solange doing her best vocal impression of her big sister over cool synths, while “Lovers in the Parking Lot” is a gloriously dramatic mixture of drum machines and melodies. “I’ve played around with your heart / Now I’m laying around in the dark”, she aches.
One aspect where the EP falls short is where one of the best tracks Solange has put out, “Sleep In The Park”, isn’t included as part of the seven-song tracklisting. The track, which can be heard above, was originally released as a b-side to the “Losing You” single.
The overall package often feels too short and the extra song could give it that extra kick. As Solange sings in the song, which can be heard below, “Yeah, we’ve got a long, long way to go / We can’t survive on love, babe”. One of the stronger pieces that take the listener back to the ’80’s.
Overall, the piece acts as an enigmatic time capsule of everything wonderful about ’80’s production, but brings such a homogeneity to the present, updating the production with simplistic yet classic melodies. In its desire to create something new out of something old, the True EP delivers strongly.