TGJ Replay: Solange’s ‘Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams’ #FBF

Published: Friday 19th Feb 2016 by Rashad

Welcome back to TGJ Replay!

Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ features, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s newest reflective segment to act as a written quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday. Unlike its TGJ retrospective predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits.

Now, join us as we dust off the ‘Sandcastle Disco’-housing gem ‘Sol-angel and the Hadley St. Dreams’ – the sophomore album from Solange Knowles:

2003 saw the Knowles girls – Beyonce and Solange – both release their respective debut albums.  To the benefit of both (in severely varying degrees), the unprecedented success of R&B group Destiny’s Child acted as a sturdy launching pad for their solo endeavors.  But, before the former would rocket into the stratosphere with her critically and commercially acclaimed effort, ‘Dangerously In Love,’ the latter kicked off the year with her effort ‘Solo Star.’

Comprised of a number of cookie-cutter cuts (some written by the then-14 year old), ‘Star’ faded almost as quickly as it had risen.  Add to this minimal promotion, the increased popularity of her older sister, and (eventually) a controversy around her early pregnancy, the youngest of the Knowles clan was dealt a hand of discouraging blows that essentially hushed her musical efforts for nearly half a decade.

That silence met its halt in 2008 when she re-emerged with ‘Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams.’


Recorded between 2005 and 2008, the album tapped into the singer’s love of vintage music.  Drawing inspiration from a well of Motown acts during its conception, the project was birthed as the antithesis of what was radio-friendly at the time (see then-rising genre EDM and bass heavy R&B).  As the visual for its first single ‘I Decided’ would also illustrate, Solange’s deviation from “what was expected” was not limited to her sonic offerings…

Sporting a toned physique, darker hair, and confidence to boot, ‘I Decided’ drove the point home:  the “new and improved” Solange had arrived.  Wielding a visually impressive, “concept-heavy” clip that revisited memorable eras of black music history (see:  Motown sound, disco, etc.), the video also aimed to assert the singer’s distance from her mega-pop star older sibling.

On the critical front the move proved itself lucrative.  Garnering thumbs up from many-a-critic for its riskiness, ‘I Decided’ was lauded for its balance of substance and style – managing to dodge  the “gimmicky” approach and offer at least some level of authenticity.

Sadly, the sentiment was not echoed on the commercial front.  Peaking at #44 on the Billboard R&B charts, the song missed the Hot 100 all together.

Undeterred, the burgeoning diva pressed forward with its follow-up ‘Sandcastle Disco.’  Its accompanying visual, which marked her directorial debut, would press forward the agendas set forth by its predecessor (see: distance from previous offerings, etc).

Though quickly becoming a fan favorite, even skyrocketing to the #1 spot on Dance charts (like ‘Decided’), the tune would suffer the same fate as its forerunner – missing the Hot 100 all together.


On the Billboard 200 side of the musical pond, ‘Dreams’ made more of a splash.  Debuting to the tune of 46,000 sold its first week, the album successfully managed top 10 placement (peaking at #9).  Yet, while her tenancy was brief, the project did manage to make enough noise to pique the interest of critics and new fans – many of whom praised the singer’s vocal and artistic maturity:

‘T.O.N.Y.’ live (see: 3:12)

‘Hadley St. Dreams’ is unquestionably one of those albums you don’t truly appreciate until you are years removed from the era.  Listening today makes it hard for us to see how and why so many of those tunes were slept on.  From her stage presence to her willingness to go against the grain, there are so many aspects of her artistry that should be applauded.

Unfortunately, to this day, the album still does not know its due acclaim.  Alas, that won’t stop us from giving it a just ode in the form of this ‘TGJ Replay.’  And, while we excuse ourselves to go press play on our jam ‘Ode To Marvin,’ you tell us:

Your thoughts?

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  1. Taylor Tori Azalea February 19, 2016

    Tranet’s sister from another mother
    Famous because of their last names
    Now I get the Beyoncé MJ comparison
    They both made their siblings
    Anyway back to this un baught album
    I did not buy it, I know nothing about it I’ll keep shut
    Despite being unnoticed it probably sold more than #460
    She can sit With Rihanna and watch from the best how it’s done and sold

  2. Taylor Tori Azalea February 19, 2016

    So Molly now stans Selena mmmhmm
    that was approximately 111 days staning Bey…. I wonder who’s next
    asskisser of the 2010s

  3. ???Chile, leave my weave at the door and don’t steal it like those broke ass barb stans??? February 19, 2016

    Yes! It’s a shame that “Sandcastle Disco” became the hit that got away! What a great, funky tune!

    • maurice February 19, 2016

      T.O.N.Y. is my song too.
      I Decided, the freemasons remix, slayyyyyyed my soul.
      Omg and there’s a song called ‘Cosmic Journey’ on the album — listen to that, it’s gonna snatch your existence.
      So sad Solange doesn’t get more attention for her music; I like her music not because she’s Beyonce’s sister, but because she’s really talented and so diverse from what her sibling does in the industry.

      • ???Chile, leave my weave at the door and don’t steal it like those broke ass barb stans??? February 19, 2016

        Yes, hun! Give “Losing You” a listen too. You’ll be two-stepping in no time.

  4. Keegan Parker February 19, 2016

    The whole album slayed my existence. I still listen to this album today as if its the first time

  5. whoyou February 19, 2016

    Loved, loved, loved this album! Still one of my faves to date.

  6. yesterday was Aaliyah 37birthday to the good music February 19, 2016

    Great album & my favorite song is Tony & the rest of those songs

  7. NotThatSerious February 19, 2016

    Dope ass album… So many great songs on that one…

  8. ras February 19, 2016

    Cosmic journey

  9. Iamdiego February 20, 2016

    I could’ve been in love by now…. I still love the whole album

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