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New Releases: Solange Shares Her ‘Hadley St. Dreams’

Solange Knowles is more than just Beyonce‘s little sister. As if that statement wasn’t plastered into your brain with every interview, slip of a four-letter expletive,or doe-eyed photograph; Sol-Angel and The Hadley St. Dreams will make you a believer. In the folds of the younger Knowles’ CD booklet she writes “I will not get pregnant at 17″ and “I will not have a famous family.” Clearly there is an “oops” in order to both statements. Yet you get the feeling that Solange wouldn’t have it any other way.

The lead single ‘I Decided’ with its 60s style melody and coyish undertones will make you close your eyes and imagine you’re dancing to the beat on American Bandstand. A far cry from her solo and understandably more childish debut ‘Hadley St. Dreams’ is garnished with the soulful whimsy made famous by Motown but made modern by a new-aged funk. Each track is a feel good flirty ride through life, love and heartbreak. ‘T.O.N.Y.’ describes that oh so cool man who finesses his way into your life just as loudly as he walks out. The pianos and tambourines color smoothly inside the lines of Solange’s intrepidness.

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Ever heavy on the snare, ‘Would’ve Been the One’ tells of a failed love connection hidden cleverly in its up-tempo flavor. After all isn’t that what a relationship gone wrong is all about: pretending that you will be alright even when you’re not? Mission accomplished. On the flip side, ‘Sandcastle Disco’ expresses the apprehension of falling for someone who is too fly for their own good. “Baby I know that you do that to all the girls. You know that I’m fragile,” the singer pleads.

With all the influence from a previous genre and generation, ‘Hadley St. Dreams’ may seem a bit one note, but at least it’s a good one. Despite the trippy ‘Cosmic Journey’ featuring Bilal every track seems to find Solange deeper and deeper in her element. The album is energetic and up-beat no matter the subject and gutsy in its own right. Who but a rebellious artist would have the balls to put together a complete album influenced by a time period at least 30 years before they were born? ‘Hadley St. Dreams’ speaks to the independence of expression without being pushy or over-rehearsed. Solange may not be the more popular Knowles but she definitely deserves her own spotlight.

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