Solange – “Don’t Touch My Hair” (Singles Going Steady)

Don't mistake Solange's cool voice for weakness: she has a strong message and proud resolve, and she makes both very clear in this stunning single.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Don’t mistake Solange’s cool voice for weakness: she has a strong message and proud resolve, and she makes both very clear in this stunning single. Her voice sounds more beautiful than it ever has, and her minimalism, both sonic and visual, is art, focusing the song’s considerable strength directly on her, where it belongs. Sampha’s soft, soulful backing vocals complement her well, adding a layer of sweetness to an empowering ballad. [10/10]

Andrew Paschal: Solange’s A Seat at the Table is somehow one of the most unexpected and most anticipated releases of the past few months, and she wastes no time claiming her place among the most prominent and vital black voices in pop music from the past few years. With its title alone, “Don’t Touch My Hair” offers (or rather, reiterates for the thousandth time) an introductory lesson on racial awareness to clueless white people everywhere, while meditating on the larger issues of social identity, boundaries, ownership, and pride. The glacial R&B is complicated by creeping harpsichord-like keys that lend the song a dreamlike, hypnotic feel. Solange has been missed since she brought us “Losing You” four years ago, and if it feels inevitable that she would return with such a sociopolitical work, it is nonetheless another essential contribution to the year 2016. [9/10]

Paul Carr: Solange seems to have opted for the less is more approach. Minimalist percussion and subdued keyboards sees the song skulk around but never quite come out of the shadows. Even with the backing of Sampha the whole thing never really catches fire. It’s pleasant enough but there is something missing. [6/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Beyoncé’s little sister is a bit more reserved as far as overtly mainstream aimed radio-aimed tracks. Erring on the side of artistic rather than the money chasing flash and bash of big sister. The song a dusty through back with a laid back vibe, sultry horns and Solange’s vocals are super dope, tasty layers and kick ass name for a song. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: While Beyoncé is busy taking over the world, Solange continues to sporadically release music that is considerably odder than the megahits her older sister cranks out. I like the quiet, sparse feel of this track and how the instrumentation is carefully parsed out. It has the feel of a classic R&B single and doesn’t make the mistake of overcomplicating the arrangement. A great track from a singer who deserves more attention. [7/10]

SCORE: 8.00