Solange Knowles is fated to forever get compared to her more famous sister Beyonce, and I think that’s a shame. Considering their differences in style, image, and sonic instincts, it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges…and a lot like comparing mainstream pop to indie pop. Because she appeals to my “indie” sensibilities, I’ve always liked Solange a little bit better; the kind of pop-R&B that Beyonce does is something I’ve learned to appreciate later in life (and something I’ll gravitate towards when asked which kind of mainstream pop I like the most), but I’ve got Solange’s reference points in my blood. Girlfriend has an omnivorous interest in indie rock, ’80s pop, and Motown girl groups, which are all things I love. Plus, she covered The Dirty Projectors, which is just rad.
Solange has a new single/video out today, and it’s definitely worth a listen. Produced by Dev Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange), an English artist who is currently in love with airy synth-pop, the track is both carefree and yearning, heartbroken and danceable, a combo of which my post-punk heart will never tire. The video further reinforces this duality; she may very well be “losing you for good,” but who could stay sad for long in such a beautiful place as Cape Town, South Africa? And with such fun and well-dressed buddies?
Unlike her sister, Solange never over-sings, letting her voice’s beauty shine through the simple melody. And just look at her! She rocks suits, jumps in pools, and is generally freakin’ adorable. If the term didn’t have such negative connotations, I’d say she’s the elusive black manic pixie dream girl. But Solange is presumably a real and complex person, so I’ll just say she seems like a cool lady I would very much like to meet, befriend, and trade mixes with.