Solange is Better Than Beyoncé


A snapshot from “Cranes in the Sky”, which is one of the first singles off of Solange’s new album. All rights go to Solange and her label.

Noah Smith, Opinion Editor

Beyoncé Knowles needs literally no introduction, as you already know exactly who she is. The world loves her and acknowledges her voice as the definitive one of this generation. She has ascended popular culture and is not even on the same plane as any other modern celebrity.

Her performances are reminiscent of religious devotions and she never fails to raise the bar by switching everything up from one show to the next. She is a force to be reckoned with and she has the ability to make an important political statement, which she hinted at in her Grammy nominated song “Formation,” which is an ode to modern black women and their role in society.

However, this is where the disconnect between her and her lesser known sister, Solange, occurs. In 2016, Beyoncé released her sixth studio album ‘Lemonade’ to widespread critical acclaim and massive sales numbers. The album was accompanied by an hour-long HBO special of the same name that contained all of the songs and told a story of infidelity and healing.

While a challenging and politically charged album toward the end, it comes nowhere near Solange’s ‘A Seat At The Table’ which is completely politically charged and tackles subject matter that is seldom spoken about, let alone sung about.

Solange’s album, however, is not as commercially successful as ‘Lemonade’ for multiple reasons. First of all, it is not a pop album by any means. The most pop-sounding song is the foot-tapping “Junie”, but even that song remains true to the R&B sound that embodies the rest of the album.

Secondly, Solange is not a consistent musician. Including ‘ASATT’, she has released three studio albums, each of which have seen different sounds and styles. There was also an eight-year gap between her second and third albums.

Finally, people have a hard time separating her from her sister. When she won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance for her song “Cranes in the Sky”, an interviewer asked her how her mother has treated her with the success of her sister. It’s an absurd and, honestly, stupid question to which Solange answered “Well…she’s my mom…so she’s always been supportive.”

Looking at why ‘ASATT’ is better than ‘Lemonade’, it is simply because of the messages conveyed in each. Beyoncé chose to sing about love, loss, and forgiveness: things that are relatable to every single human on the planet, which aided in her success with the album.

Solange, on the other hand, specially made her album for African American women. From the opening seconds of ‘Rise’ to the last words of ‘Closing: The Chosen Ones”, Solange tells a relatable story for the marginalized community of modern black women who have so long never had an album that speaks their woes and wishes. When speaking about how she wanted the album to appear, Solange stated that the goal was to show black women as Avant Garde and dynamic, breaking stereotypes and showcasing humanity.

So, yes, ‘Lemonade’ is an amazing album that is relevant today and tomorrow and ten years from now, but ‘A Seat At The Table’ will be woven into musical history. It is unlike anything else in this day and age and, in my opinion, it trumps Beyoncé’s latest not only because of that but because of Solange’s willingness to speak her mind.

View her music video for “Cranes in the Sky” here.