Solange Knowles has a famous sister. That is to say, a very, very famous sister… named Beyonce. You might have heard of her. In any case, Solange is her sister and, rather than try to ape the megastar in her own family, she has a history of being deliberately, obstinately, her own person. This is best evidenced by her second album (the name of which is too long to write) which swapped the kind of modern R’n’B pop her sister is famed for, for a kind of retro-soul sound reminiscent of Motown. It was a pretty good album, by and large, and established her as something other than a simple imitator of her big sister.
That was four years ago now, and since then Solange has been busy crafting for herself an image as an offbeat, cooler than cool, hipster songstress with covers of Dirty Projectors songs and attendances at any number of quirky music venues. She also apparently set to work recording some bloody good original material, like the shimmering, languorous synth pop single, ‘Losing You,’ which sounds like it belongs to another era, possibly the 80s. I can’t say for certain because I wasn’t there, but there’s something in the lush, mournful swell of synths that sustains a good deal of the song that feels like it comes from somewhere in the not too distant past. That and the percussive, hand-clap driven rhythm section, which loops continuously for the whole of the song, gives it a timeless quality. Maybe that’s the word I was searching for, “timeless.” Where her sister’s music is always very much rooted in the here and now, the product of strenuous effort and showboating, this little, unassuming gem has seemingly emerged from the haze of time. It’s catchy, it’s classy, it’s gorgeously pretty and it demonstrates a laid-back cool that her sister never really possessed. It might not be generic enough to be a hit, but it damn well deserves to be one.