Solange Knowles’s latest and greatest solo album, A Seat At The Table, is a powerhouse project which she told W Magazine was intended to be a punk record despite its R&B beats. “With punk music, white kids were allowed to be disruptive, have rage, destroy property and provoke riots,” she said. “I like to think that this is my punk moment, and that I’m doing that through this album.” The album’s 21 tracks—which were recorded in Louisiana so Solange could get in touch with her family’s roots—are politically charged but also personal, and Solange has called this her “project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing.” Her stylist, Nikki Nelms, also weighed in on the album’s agenda, telling The Cut that songs like “Don’t Touch My Hair,” are meant to be about more than just the superficial. “(It’s) about the preservation of you,” she says. “Praising your style, your look, for you. It’s cool to be you. Solange’s whole movement promotes that. That’s just who she is, and she doesn’t let anyone change her.” So far, reviews of the project have been overwhelmingly positive, with Rolling Stone calling the album, “a stunning statement that redefines the old chestnut about the personal being political,” before going on to say, “In a volatile world increasingly defined by the brash and the crude, Solange’s packaging of brutal honesty in tender, harmony-rich murmurs is both beautiful and radical.”
Along with the album, Solange created a limited-edition hardcover book also called A Seat At The Table, which was sent to just 86 fans. (This seemingly random number was chosen in honor of Solange’s birth year, 1986.) The book includes lyrics from the album, poetry and photos by Solange’s Barcelona-based art director Carlota Guerrero. You can view the digital edition here.