Here's why Solange is better than Beyoncé
Unpopular opinion: Solange is better than Beyoncé. There, I said it. Want to know why? Hear me out, I’ll explain.
For years, Beyoncé has swept the world off its collective feet with her iconic tracks and fierce choreography, but the real queen is her underrated little sister, Solange. There is no denying the Knowles sisters are strong players in the music game, but there are just some things Solange can do better.
Queen B’s work is truly iconic, yet Solange’s music is just more innovative. It’s timeless, because it doesn’t sound like anything else that is out there in the industry. Proof of this is the highlight of her career, A Seat at the Table (2016). A hybrid and mix of different sounds and genres with beautifully-recorded interludes of spoken word in-motion made it a truly flawless album. It didn’t completely sound like R&B or Hip Hop, but it also didn’t have a pop sound - the fusion of a plethora of genres made it original, something which is hard to achieve in the ever-expanding industry.
Despite the fact that it was Pitchfork’s 2016 Album of the Year, when compared to the magnitude of public praise that Beyoncé’s Lemonade received in the same year, Solange's work was definitely underrated to a large extent, and deserved a higher calibre of critical recognition. Both albums were politically-charged with strong messages of female empowerment. Whilst Beyoncé has used her position in the music industry to her advantage and has successfully established herself as a strong voice, we are often distracted by the glitz and glamour, which also comes with her mainstream fame.
Solange’s minimal approach to her music and stripped-back visuals don’t take away from the relevant sociopolitical messages that are evident in her music - in fact, they only enhance it. The simple yet statement-making visuals that accompany the stunning tracks of A Seat at the Table also show off her forward-thinking and fresh aesthetic attitude. The music video for Don’t Touch My Hair not only served a collection of unique and creative fashion moments, but also conveyed a proud message of black feminism, and represented Solange taking ownership of her hair. It could also be said for her hit tune Cranes in the Sky - seven women in a giant purple dress could have gone hysterically wrong.
Long before A Seat at the Table, Solange proved that she is way more than the Shabooya Roll Call from Bring it On: All or Nothing (2006), another one of her career highlights. True (2012) brought us the truth about heartbreak, which was disguised as hot bops and funky beats. Solange also positioned herself as a true artist in her hot music video for Losing You, where she showed everyone her fun, quirky dance moves whilst rocking a brightly-coloured pantsuit. This girl was a star from the beginning.
At the end of the day, it is all down to personal preference. Beyoncé being at the forefront of mainstream music means she is known for creating the tunes we know and love, from Partition (2013) to Formation (2016). These are always going to be on our minds, however songs like Cranes in the Sky and Don’t Wish Me Well from A Seat at the Table or those from True are tunes that are always going to hit hard emotionally. It’s fair to say that whilst we get down to Beyonce, Solange makes you want to cry and chase lovers in a parking lot.
Aristine Dobson is a third-year Creative Writing student. She has passion for 90’s R&B, good literature and Drake.