In a world where streaming numbers make superstars, Solange has turned her back on it all, releasing an album that plays more like one seamless extended piece.
When I Get Home doesn't fit into the mainstream scene and isn't trying to - it's not really trying to do anything. There are no obvious radio hits, no standout anthems and not even a standout single like Cranes in the Sky or Don't Touch My Hair.
But make no mistake. just because it's not trying to do anything, doesn't mean it's doing nothing. Everything about When I Get Home is thoughtful and purposeful.
Solange co-wrote and co-produced all 19 tracks and released the album at midnight on March 1 - the exact intersection between Black History Month and National Women's History Month.
Thus, in a celebration of her blackness and femininity, she laces rap and R&B tracks with spoken-word samples from the likes of feminist poet Pat Parker (Exit Scott), the "pussy whisperer" Alexyss K Tylor (We Deal With the Freak'n, Binz), and actress sisters Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad, reciting their mother, Vivan Ayers', poem On Status.
Fittingly, on Almeda Solange sings about "Black skin, black braids, black waves, black days", adding "These are black-owned things / Black faith can't still be washed away".
The songs float from one to the next like unfinished thoughts and Solange explains on Can I Hold The Mic: "I can't be a singular expression of myself, there's too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers, so many… "
And it's packed full of collaborations with Gucci Mane, Pharrell Williams, Sampha, Tyler the Creator and more, which all melt into Solange's melodies while barely creating a ripple.
Solange's vision holds strong and never falters. Using a sample of spiritualist and healer Goddess Lula Belle in an interlude, she states: "Do nothing without intention".
The only potential problem is that When I Get Home could well be music's equivalent to Oscar-bait. Technically impressive, thematically brilliant, telling an important story in a beautifully stylistic way but ultimately, lacking in actual appeal.
This isn't something you're going to listen to on repeat without tuning it out the bulk of the time, but it is still gorgeous and a joy to read into and explore and I think that was the intention.
Solange, When I Get Home
Album: When I Get Home
Label: Sony Music
Verdict: A gorgeous piece created with unwavering intention.