SoL-AngeL & The Hadley Street Dreams (Instrumentals)
Label: MWG / Music World Entertainment Corporation
Solange's sophomore effort, produced by the likes of the Neptunes and Mark Ronson, is Motown-flavored, but sometimes it feels forced: whereas big sis Beyonce is dramatic, Solange can be histrionic, experimenting with naughtier lyrics and heavier sounds as if trying to prove she's the more daring Knowles. It's far from easy listening -- save for the super-catchy "I Decided," which goes down smooth, as does "Would Have Been the One," despite its complex harmonies. "Cosmic Journey," featuring Bilal, is exactly that, succeeding in its simplicity, making it a perfect cooldown.