A Seat at the Table

I’ve been flattened by this album every time I’ve listened to it. This world doesn’t deserve A Seat at the Table and Lemonade in the same year, but we got it anyway.

I’ve been looking for articles celebrating these two sisters releasing their odes to black femininity that are so utterly appropriate for each woman, but all anyone can talk about is how Solange is sure gonna endanger Beyoncé’s Grammy! Some people like her album more than Beyoncé’s!

Ugh. Can y’all shut the fuck up? First of all, who gives a fuck about the Grammys. Second of all, why don’t we focus on what is good about each of these albums and why we’re losing our collective shits over both of them?

This isn’t intended to be an album review, btw. Ironically, I’ve never been all that great at talking about music subjectively.
“Hey, did you like that album?”
“OMG yes it’s so good!”
“What did you like about it?”
“Um…the songs?”

I do have a few things to say about them though –

A Seat at the Table is a little subtler musically, while Lemonade tends to hit the nail on the head – “Daddy Lessons,” for example, is a down-home deep-south country song (and by the way, can we talk about the glory of returning country music, even for a second, to black Americans, who invented it? I had the most irritating conversation in the car on the way home from the concert about how “can’t we all just accept that art is a collaboration, and we all invented it?”)

NO

I went to see this therapist over the weekend who explained to me that anxiety doesn’t exist and it’s all just physical sensations combining to make you think you have anxiety. Thank you Beyoncé for “boy, bye” and Solange for “Cranes in the Sky,” an expression of the difficulties in showing love to yourself when the world tells you you’re worthless and then tells you it’s your own fault. Both songs do me better than this fucknuts.

What I love about A Seat at the Table is that sometimes you just need statements like “I’m weary of the ways of the world,” “I’ve got a lot to be mad about,” and “Don’t touch my hair” to get the point. I ran up against a wall of Solange’s genius when I realized how “F.U.B.U.” is so catchy and yet I can’t sing along with it (even in my head, white guilt I guess), and then I realized the last chorus is “Don’t feel bad if you can’t sing along/ Just be glad you have the whole wide world.” D A Y U M

Lemonade feels familiar, like when you meet someone you feel like you’ve known forever. There’s still something to learn from it, but you learn it in a language that feels intimately accessible. I feel a sense of implicit understanding, and I sit in the middle of the music as I’m listening. Meanwhile, A Seat at the Table feels like something I’ve never heard before, a synthesis of so many traditions and sounds and themes that it’s a whole new thing (synergy, amIrite?). It’s like a box I can only get into from one side at a time, so each time I listen to it I’m looking at it from a new perspective.

Anyway, I would love to write about every single song on each of these albums but I don’t think anyone would want to read that. This is all to say that I, like you probably, find these albums to be extraordinarily different and yet equally effective in getting across similar messages. And I, like you unless you’re a moron, feel #blessedashell to have all this Black Girl Magic at my fingertips.

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