Solange’s Sophomore Effort Struggles, Raises Larger Concerns

solangeone.jpgOh, Solange. After uncomfortably watching her clumsily throw sass in frustration at that news anchor and then gazing in amazement at the response video she released soon after, it appeared as though the increasing momentum built by the debacle might positively affect record sales for her then forthcoming album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Even before all of that it seemed she was on the road to at least moderate success after her first single "I Decided" was warmly received. Now with a week's worth of sales it appears that it might all have been vain.

Over at Brown Sista it was mentioned that Solange's album will not make it to the Billboard Top Ten. Upon further investigation, it appears that it didn't even break the Billboard Top 100. So, what can we make of such an underwhelming performance on the charts?

Of course it stands to reason that even despite her declarations of independence from her sister, she will always be the other Knowles.
She is fighting an enormous battle to establish herself as an artist in
her own right, one that hasn't been won by any member of Destiny's Child who has gone solo. And they don't even have a sharing of blood to contend with.

However, a larger issue is the fact that Solange's album failed to sell
after being made widely available and for exceptionally low prices. It
can be purchased at major retailers like Circuit City, where it is
offered as an exclusive release. Plus the entire digital
album is available on Amazon for $6.99. Not charting after almost a week in sales of a cheap album,
an increase in press and a decent response to the first single is
distressing. If listeners are unwilling to give Solange a shot in hell,
what does that mean for upcoming releases by other R&B and soul
singers like Jazmine Sullivan and Jennifer Hudson?

Perhaps it's just that contemporary audiences are less likely to
purchase music since you can bootleg most of it online. Maybe it is that people just don't care for Solange's music and were not persuaded
by recent events to put down even a nominal amount for her album. It
very well might be the result of the combination of a sophomore slump and her
family ties.

Regardless, low sales like this cannot bode well for soul music and its tributary genres. Even if it is Solange.

Solange [Official][MySpace]
Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams [Amazon][iTunes]

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24 Responses

  1. Billboard won't release its official US numbers until Wednesday. What you linked to are European numbers. Let's not count the girl out just yet.

  2. Solange will never have a successful solo career. She will always be Bey's lil sister. She will always be in Bey's shadows. She will always be associated with Beyonce. Kelly and Michelle suffer from the same fate. Mary Wilson & Florence Ballard never found solo sucess. Aretha's sisters remained in her shadows.There can only be 1 star in the family. Michael and Janet are the rare exception to the rule.

  3. Maybe it's the Ashlee Simpson effect. The public just isn't into being "fooled' by the younger, quirky, lesser talented sister of the huge internationally known megastar older sister.
    I get the feeling that people are like "ok.. we've been down this road before with relatives of stars trying to make it happen."
    I use "lesser talented" lightly -- Solange has proven herself as a successful songwriter. Her singing is leaves something to be desired, however.
    That interview mishap probably didn't help because in a lot of people eyes -- she came off rather snotty. Whether it was justfied or not.
    Overall, I do think it's a shame people aren't giving her a chance. The CD isn't too bad.. especially at those prices. I like it a lot more than Janelle Monae -- who seems to get raves everywhere.
    Plus, at this point in the game, the retro-Motown sound is over.

  4. I think its more simple than that.
    This is not a commercial record.
    The people most prone to buy any record are the ones whose choices reflect the most narrow assumptions about what is "good music."
    Put those two things together and you got bad sales.
    That said, who gives a shit if it sells. I don't really care if white people bought the album in droves. It says nothing about the quality of the music, which by any objective standard can not be denied.
    Black folks have got to divorce themselves from caring about how much they sell. Solange will have a career for as long as Daddy Matthew will allow. Sure, it's not fair. But Sol-Angel proves that she deserves it.

  5. It was a solid effort by Solange. Some of the songs are really well-written. It is a shame that her voice is not as strong as the quality of the songs. But otherwise, she really tried hard.
    There are singers that have had more "success" with even worse voices (e.g. Cassie) but it is too early to tell as Solange's album has just been released.
    Also, in this day and age, very few artists are going platinum... and these days most artists pander to the masses or MTV/BET/radio and create dumbed down music in order to sell..
    I don't believe her and her camp when they say they were not looking for mainstream success or for big sales. The media blitz and promotion proves that she wanted to make a big splash. And who does not? I believe every singer/artist/musician out there, if given the chance, would want the masses to listen to their music and buy it also.
    Also, I don't believe in the image Solange is trying to create for herself.. it is coming off a bit forced. In her quest to extract herself from all things Beyonce, she called even more attention to that fact, to the point where it became annoying. OKAY, Solange, we got it.. you are not Beyonce.. I didn't think she needed to go that far.. her music is so different from anything Beyonce has released..
    As for that fiasco with FOX, I think that will be the last time Solange will be on there.. they have anchors blasting her left, right and centre..
    I wish her all the success and hope she continues to write music and show us her creativity.

  6. Like someone else said, I don't think the numbers have been released yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if this album is a huge flop for Solange. I think the problem is many people gave her a chance, and she simply didn't connect with most people. I guess we were suppose to give her props for making music that isn't radio friendly, but if that's the case, she shouldn't be totally shocked by these numbers. She could have gotten the same mainstream packaging that her sister got, but instead she wanted~respect~ and ~credibility~ and after all that she still has neither. Take her rant about the music industry for example. Were suppose to believe that you've been a victim of the same music industry that paid for your high-budget videos and put your ads all over the blogosphere? please. Unfortunately for Solozenger, the audience she was trying to reach is highly critical when it comes to "real" music and for an album that enlisted the help of Bilal, Cee-Lo and Mark Ronson, it was a pretty underwhelming effort.

  7. I was bout to say that since this is actually Monday, there's no way that sales have been officially tallied domestically as Monday's sales counts towards album totals tracked from albums released the previous Tuesday. The sales week is Tuesday-Monday. With that said, the album is very solid to say the least. I copped it from Best Buy last Saturday and it's impressive, to me. Reviews have also been pretty good with Entertainment Weekly giving it a B+. She's still young so she hasn't quite learned humility, but I'm feelin' her re: her rant against the industry. Solange has a lot to give us as an audience, I believe, so hopefully we can all stop wishing her ill just cause she's Bey's little sis, and instead, judge her art on its own merit.

  8. If her record didn't move because of some silly remark made on a tv show, that's just lame. What does that have to do with her music, which is exceptionally good on this outing. We as a culture let ridiculously silly things deter us from buying records. Meh, unfortunate to be sure.
    I bought my copy, and hopefully more folks will too.-QH

  9. it's a good record. from a fan's standpoint, that should be all that matters. why in 2008 are people studying chart positions so hard? with the state of the recording industry, we have seen lots of good albums chart pathetically at Billboard. it's meaningless really, unless you happen to own a record company.
    i copped "Sol-Angel . . ." (legally), and i think this is a really solid effort from Solange. it may not be "soulful" as most of us would define it, but collectively as an album, it has a soul. i think any poor sales showing says much more about the record buying public than it does Solange, her label (and parent company Geffen), her father, or Beyonce.
    and speaking of, i don't get how being Beyonce's little sister actually hinders Solange from achieving success in her own right. of course the association will always be there, but how does that stop Solange from developing her own identity? it doesn't. sure, Solange has had her forced and awkward moments, trying to establish herself, but i think she will prevail creatively and personally. Solange is talented enough to do well. more importantly, she has the drive to do so. if other actually half-assed, so-called singer-songwriters can blow up, then this girl has absolutely nothing to worry about. also, if someone can emerge from Michael Jackson's shadow (probably the biggest and coldest shadow in history), then that argument loses a ton of credibility. let's not forget that Janet made two absolutely mediocre albums before "Control." you could make two flop albums back in the 80's, because they had a little thing then called "artist development." Janet would've likely been dropped from A&M before she ever got a chance to make "Control," had it occurred in the present day.
    what's funny about all of this is that i doubt Solange is as worried about this as some of us. i believe she did what she wanted to do artistically, and something tells me that she is very proud of the album, regardless of actual sales. if people ultimately decide to shun her music, she can always continue on as a writer.

  10. I guess she will blame everyone except's obvious she is going through some kind of sibling jealousy thing with her big sister, I mean B has sold a 100 million and she sells 999,999,998 less copies:) that has to hurt. hopefully she will kill her diva attitude and be a lot more humble. We all know if it wasnt for her sister she wouldnt even have gotten a deal.......

  11. Recently, a Fox anchor that works with Monica Jackson spoke out about the interview & straight TRASHED Solange's career (or lack there of). In an on-air discussion with a fellow anchor, he continued to pronounce Solange's name wrong, tossed her album on the news desk & said "who cares?!" when referencing her efforts to promote her new CD. Though it seriously lacked journalistic professionalism, I thought it was noble of the anchor to stand up for his colleague. Monica Jackson didn't deserve that & not once did Solange make a formal apology to her in the moment. It wasn't until she got a lot of negative feedback about the interview that "she decided" (pun intended) to make that sad YouTube explanation in which she never apologized in that vid either!
    If things got out of hand before or during the interview she could've handled it accordingly after the fact. That's what true "professionals" do & perhaps that's why Solange hasn't reached the level of stardom she's desperately been chasing for the last five years. How about calling Monica Jackson LIVE on-air or appearing in the studio with her & apologizing to her infront of the same audience that you embarrassed her infront of? That would be admirable. "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson--Oooh!--I am for reeeal."
    No wonder she'll always be in Beyonce's shadow & to think I actually spoke highly of her prior to this incident & prior to listening to her new album (for free)--which by the way SUCKS ginormous donkey balls! She wants to do this whole sixties/seventies thing (which her sister already did two albums ago anyway), but it seriously lacks the emotional depth the artists and the music of that era genuinally exuded. (see Raphael Saadiq & Janelle Monae for further details)--Now that's how you do it! Solange's efforts just comes across as "Solange Knowles" slathered across some old school beats.

  12. I feel for her frustrations as I feel for those who lack her many advantages (because we'll never hear from them).
    Well if those sales figures reveal a trend then it's definitely time to worry, but it also part-explains the universal move to retro sounds.
    If the original (Motown and others) crossover music was devised and marketed to hit the biggest possible market then, in this shrinking market, is it any coincidence that everyone should be playing that strategy again? What's disappointing is that they're rehashing that same style and not creating a new one, looking back not looking forward, like you'd have to do that to find a style that speaks to everyone. Things do not look good.

  13. Solanges purpose ...and saving grace will be showcasing good songs written by others. Her song choice and image will not be established by 1 or 2 Cds.
    I will say that on a superficial level her videos work because she matches the mood of the songs with a chirpy happy smile that is inviting. In other words her "retro" style is happy music (so far) which is typically a harder sell to clueless program directors and "snap music" fans.
    She needs to be continue on her path and be herself. Hopefully that path will include her finding her OWN Holland-Dozier_Holland or Gamble and Huff or Jam and Lewis. (I'd love to write for her)

  14. Seriously...who CARES? This is an amazing record and if people didn't buy (and I KNEW they wouldn't) then its their fault.
    Personally, I didn't think her singles got the radio airplay they deserved, but lets face it...the album is a bit too different for mainstream audiences and most people want to compare her to her sister anyway.
    She just needs to go over to Europe like Kelis (Wanderland) and Amerie (Because I Love It) did. I hear her singles are getting a better reception over there.

  15. I didn't buy the cd because I don't care for Solange's vocals. I liked the direction and overall sound of her cd; I just wished someone else was singing. I don't want to assume that Jazz Sullivan's cd won't do well since Solange's cd didn't sell well. Jazz has an amazing voice and I am trying to hip as many people as possible to her sound. I will be picking her cd up on day one.

  16. I just didn't buy into the trend.She sounds "forced" At first, I was like ok it's diggable, but I can't get into the trend everybody wanting to do the 60s/80s sounds.Makes me worried for Saadiq a lil bit.If people didn't buy it, it was their fault?LOL, the funniest thing I heard today.You can't tell nobody what to do with their money.Solange got money.Nobody is buying BS this day.
    Like on the morning shows they will continue to caption "Beyonce's Sister" just to get people to listen.

  17. Didn't she say in an Essence magazine interview like two years ago that she doesn't want the big, superstardom that her sister has? Well, she hasn't gotten that superstardom and by the looks of these figures (whether they be international or domestic) she won't. Her album won't be a highly commercial success---that's what she wanted, right? She's been doing lots of high profile promoting. Has it failed? Who knows, the numbers will tell. Did her stank attitude on the news a week ago affect the sales? Possibly, maybe; it certainly didn't help.
    If she winds up being on the level of 'stardom' that say, most independent artists are like N'Dambi or Res or Imani Coppola, I think that's cool too. Those artists are true artists concerned with the 'art' and not necessarily the high record sales...and there's nothing wrong with that; nothing wrong with putting your artistry out there for the masses (both big and small). But something tells me she wants SUPERSTAR fame like her sis; regardless of what she says, I feel she wants that kind of spotlight. But she may have to settle for less... And if it's really all about the music, none of this will matter to her anyway.


  19. Hmmm, I'm not really sure if Solange's lack of sales is indicative of what may come for Jaz and Jennifer. Those two can actually sing and have been getting radio play. Solange doesnt have the vocals, nor does she have the mainstream appeal. Im not saying that Jennifer and Jaz do, but Jennifer has a broader audience looking out for here because she has had exposure through movies and American Idol, while Jazmine has been #1 on 106th & Park for a hot minute. The only thing Solange has is the fact thats she is related to Beyonce. And she can't sing. She can write but it is quite obvious that the masses dont care about that anymore.
    Her album is cool though, but like someone stated below, I would like it ALOT more if someone else was singing on it...seriously.

  20. She debuted at #14 on Billboard. 30,000 copies sold.

  21. As she states she's not her sister...Solange needs to humble herself. Beyonce's not even that cocky. Lil Sis got it bad 🙁

  22. I'm sorry, I just never hopped on the Solange bandwagon. I finally got to listen to more of her songs while riding in my friend's, who loved her, car, I just wasn't feeling it. Once she was re-introduced to us, I just didn't feel it. I think people are looking at what looks and sounds different, which really isn't, as something to listen to. But again, I don't feel that she is strong vocally and she comes off very immature and spoiled. This coupled with the way she responded to the Fox reporter is a TOTAL turnoff. A professional waits until after the show addresses her concerns in a mature manner. I know she's sick of the comparison to her sister, but would she really have had a sounding board if she was just some chick off the street? Me thinks not.
    At the same time, I can't knock anyone's hustle and I hope she evolves and does well, I just won't be buying her album.

  23. What do they say:
    You have one chance to make a big impression.
    She didn't prove herselfthe first time so whay give her another chance. I feel like you have to want to be interested in someone to by the album. Most people weren't. She wanted to be so fdifferant from her sister and it just didn't seem genuine. Come on, 60's and 70's inspired music.. She would have had better succesif she stuck with the pop/R&B thing like her big sis.
    Nice try Solange.

  24. After listening to the cd I think Solange is an exceptional songwriter. I particularly like the lyrics to "Could've been the 1". The problem is that she often sounds like a 12 year old screeching and straining to hit the notes. She also does alot of runs that don't do her any favors. She should know her vocal limitations. I found myself ilterally cringing on some songs. However, I still think the album is just could've been waaaay better vocally.