Solange follows up 2016's A Seat at the Table with new project When I Get Home, a cohesive and distinctive 19-track collection of dreamy, unhurried music tapping an all-star team of collaborators. British singer-songwriter Tom Walker teams up with Zara Larsson for a lovely heartbreak duet. The Jonas Brothers are back in fine form on the uncomplicated "Sucker." American Idol alum Catie Turner comes out with a sweet song for anyone who's felt out of place, particularly in our teens. And a debut song from Brooklyn artist Sebastian Adé explores an elastic, subtly electronic new avenue of R&B.
"Stay Flo," Solange
Solange returns with a probing new body of work on the 19-track project When I Get Home, a mix of futuristic jazz, R&B and hip-hop that sees appearances from the likes of Sampha, Earl Sweatshirt and Playboi Carti. "Stay Flo," coming about a third through the album, is short but sweet, a delicate and deceptively complex kind of bop that's more concerned with vibe than storytelling — although there's some of that, too. Solange isn't interested in the kind of pop-R&B her sister Beyoncé has made her brand; "Stay Flo" may not end up making much of a radio mark. But it, and the rest of When I Get Home, reverberates on another register, a space that Solange has consciously and consistently carved out for herself.
"Sucker," Jonas Brothers
Yes, they're back. Kevin, Nick and Joe Jonas have reunited after six years apart for a sly bop of a track on "Sucker." "We go together better than birds of a feather," Nick sings off the top — and while the rest of the tune is a love song, presumably to their respective wives, that first lyric is a good reminder of the appeal of an in-step trio. It's light, more of a sketch of a song than the full thing, with whistle breaks and bare percussion. But that ends up making a refreshing backdrop for the brothers to reintroduce themselves in sharp style. It doesn't hurt that in the lavish Marie-Antoinette-style fever dream of a music video — which features Sophie Turner, Priyanka Chopra and Danielle Jonas — they seem to be having a blast.
"Prom Queen," Catie Turner
"Prom Queen" is about teen anxieties, sure. But there is a universal message that resonates well into adulthood in Catie Turner's aching, existential honesty. "I'm an iceberg, there's so much more that your eyes can't see," she sings. "Two girls walk into a party, the one who gets noticed isn't me." That yearning — to be seen, to be part of the "cool" crowd, to be "somebody to someone," as Turner says — has a long tail well past the moment when prom ends and real life begins. Turner, who was an American Idol finalist and high school senior just last spring, is still in the thick of her youth. But the intimate directness of her voice, over a supple acoustic melody, suggests wisdom beyond her years.
"Parachute," Sebastian Adé
Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sebastian Adé describes himself in his Spotify bio as "a mood." That's an apt description for "Parachute," too, an oozing, elastic R&B tune that drips and stretches with his mellifluous vocals and a boost of atmosphere in production from duo Bird Language. It's an understated but promising debut track, suggesting a whole world of slow-burning, introspective work in store. "I am lonely, I'm not easy, who can love me?" Adé muses as he seeks safe harbor. And then he finds it, as the song resolves in sweet harmony: "When you opened your mouth, your words came down like a parachute."
"Now You're Gone," Tom Walker feat. Zara Larsson
British singer-songwriter Tom Walker has had a good few months, winning a BRIT Award as a Breakthrough Artist and racking up hundreds of millions of streams of his early singles "Leave a Light On" and "Just You and I." His debut debut full-length, What a Time to Be Alive, digs in further to his style of soul-meets-pop-meets-rock; he weaves nimbly from sweet falsettos to rough howls over acoustic-first beats. "Now You're Gone" sees him teaming up with Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson for a rich, well-matched duet, trading verses on a heartbreak theme. Lush and propulsive, the song gives both vocalists ample space to shine as they hash out past pain.