solange - "cranes in the sky" / by Zack Free

solange knowles' a seat at the table was the most important album of 2016. its best moments offer an unadulterated peek at the emotional repercussions of being black in america, addressing feelings of weariness, anger, and aimlessness. table's definite peak, "cranes in the sky," is no exception; it's tethered inextricably to the black experience. but knowles' lyrics here, masterful and disquieting, hint at something universal. they never quite tell what she's running from, but somehow it's clear as day. it's a feeling that any person of color, any woman, any queer person, or anybody who's been made to feel worthless in their own skin should be able to identify with, and its never quite been manifested in song like it is here. "cranes"' acute emotional pull is only intensified by solange's gorgeous vocal performance, a fragile display that reaches its wordless summit in the song's unbelievable last seconds. suddenly, she's a bird, aware of the cage that she's in, but unsure of how to break free. it's cripplingly sad, but a brave realization, both timeless and unbelievably timely


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