Solange’s album A Seat at The Table begins with the smooth yet emphatic “Rise,” a song that encourages the listener to “fall into their ways,” as a form of self-empowerment and growth.
In the song, Solange invents harmonies using her voice multiple times over. The multiplication of Solange’s voice provides a chorus-like musicality, and strengthens the idea of the power of the self. The next track, “Weary” begins with a piano and bass combination that exudes both funk and jazzy chords. The drums then kick in in a slow and rhythmic fashion. The first lyrics Solange sings are: “I’m weary, of the ways of the world,” tired words that go well with the speed of the drums. Solange then warns her listener: “Be leery of the ways of then world.” Solange tells us later in the song that a King is only a man, one who bleeds just as we do. Solange tells the listener to be aware of societal hierarchies, and by being aware of them one realizes that a monarch’s power is the result of a social construct, nothing more. The Interlude after “Weary” is a recording of Master P sharing his thoughts on the key to happiness. For Master P, happiness is not an external force. Happiness is something that can only be found inside of the self, it is a result of the peace one attains while doing something that one loves.
Other notable songs on the album are “Mad,” which features Lil Wayne, and “Cranes in the Sky.” “Mad” is an explosively played piano ballad that sings and raps about what it means to carry anger with you. Solange, a black woman, seems to be attempting to choose a tough path. Though she concedes that “I got a lot to be mad about,” she still seems to desire to let go of her anger and choose an immensely more difficult yet potentially peaceful path. “Cranes in the Sky” is a beautiful piece that speaks of dealing with emotions. Solange sings: “I tried to drink it away, I tried to put one in the air, I tried to dance it away, I tried to change my hair.” Solange speaks of the forms of coping with her negative emotions, and though she found many routes none of them seem to work. She speaks of her anger as “Cranes in the sky,” metal structures that are a constant and unavoidable presence in her life. Solange’s album is a perfect example of when an artist turns their struggle and their truth into a masterpiece. A Seat at the Table deals with being black, being a woman, being disenfranchised, and being an individual. Solange’s album is a path of self-empowerment and growth, and perhaps even enlightenment.