Three years after releasing her previous album, A Seat at the Table, Solange came out with When I Get Home on March 1st. While A Seat at the Table acted as Solange’s explicit commentary on issues of race, gender, and existentialism, When I Get Home completely diverges from this concept in its abstractness and fluidity of sound; at times it appears to be more of an artistic statement than an album. 

While parsing through each track, we are graciously invited to Solange's childhood space. The quick transitions between songs of short length and features from Houston rappers like Devin the Dude reveal a synthesized commentary on Solange's adolescence in Houston, Texas. However, pinpointing the exact takeaway of When I Get Home is a challenge.

The inspiration taken from jazz–funk is apparent from the first track, “Things I Imagined,” where Solange repeats, “I saw things I imagined” in various melodies and rhythmic constructs that are both mesmerizing and calming. Solange’s voice is high–pitched and in a whispered tone, complimented by funky electronic sounds. This laid back energy is interrupted by more energetic tracks, like “Stay Flo," which has a singular beat, accompanied by the piano. Despite its energy, much like the rest of the album, this track is a song that could be slowly swayed to. Immediately following is “Dreams,” which reverts back to a more soft–spoken mellow sound, as Solange repeats “Dreams, they come a long way, not today.” This loopy repetition is soothing and acts as a constant throughout the album. 

While When I Get Home is a vulnerable product of Solange’s art, it also sounds distant from the listener, making it hard to untangle in a way that can be frustrating. There is a glossiness over the whole album that is hard to break through. In When I Get Home, Solange explores the concept of the fluidity of “home.” This is reflected in the music by its unconstrained movement, refusing to be held back by time signatures and keys. In times when the music is so fluid, the lyrics ground the song with repetitive lines. 

In “Almeda,” Solange repeats the word “black” and “brown” paired with different phrases: Brown liquor, Brown sugar, brown face. This type of repetition engrains Solange’s message in a way that is easy to grasp. It also appears as if Solange uses this repetition to hold on tighter to her concept of “home” as she can feel it slipping away. 

Growing up in Houston, Texas, the heavy emphasis that she places on her home can be felt through the way she explores Houston through memories, wandering thoughts, and experiences. This multi–dimensional picture we get of Houston and “home” is both brilliant and confusing.

The beautiful, dreamy brilliance of When I Get Home is also its greatest weakness, as the listener can’t help but get a little too lost in an album that isn’t as synthesized as it could be. When I Get Home confirms Solange’s identity as an artist unafraid to weave her creations into complex structures, though they often seem untouchable and out of reach.