This post is gonna be deep.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I’ve lowkey started a series named after songs from Solange’s A Seat at the Table. Along with Ctrl, A Seat at the Table is one of my favorite albums of all time. Both talk about insecurities and depression and are also by black women. Overall, they’re relatable. Each album speaks to me but damn near every time I hear “Cranes in the Sky,” I want to cry. The first semester of my freshman year, I hit an all time low. I didn’t want to leave my bed, I didn’t want to go to class, I didn’t want to do anything. I’m not exactly sure what triggered it but I was constantly sad and uninterested in living my life to the fullest. I was in a very transitional period in my life; I had just moved away from my hometown, changed my major, and was in a completely different type of environment than I was expecting. Coincidentally, A Seat at the Table was released right after the start of my first semester and I was suddenly listening to it nonstop. I remember listening to it while ignoring the fact that it was midterm season because all I wanted to do was sleep and listening to it when I finally decided to get my life together around Thanksgiving break. Each song hits me in a different way but nothing quite resonates with me like “Cranes in the Sky” does. Each line brings back memories of how I (eventually) decided to pull myself out of the rut that I was in. I literally tried to sleep it away, dance it away, and keep myself busy.
Early last year, Solange was a guest on Song Exploder and explained the meaning behind “Cranes in the Sky” and how she came up with the title. She, too, was in a very transitional period in her life. Originally writing the song in 2008 (when she was just 22 years old), she had just ended the relationship with the father of her son, moved back to Houston, and signed her very first publishing deal. She traveled to Miami to work on her music and the scenery inspired her:
“You couldn’t look at a street without dozens and dozens of [cranes], it felt really heavy and that line immediately came to me. Miami, again, being this refuge for me. This place that I was also creatively at my rawest, at my most pure and honest state, just the heaviness and the weightiness and kind of even the eyesore-ness of seeing all of these cranes be so disruptive in this space that I found peace in. It really kind of affected me as well. That related so strongly to the idea of trying to push through and work through but something interrupting and something being so big in this space that you’re trying to move from.”
– Solange Knowles
While the song makes me feel something in the very depths of my soul, the music video features so many visuals that I fell in love with. My favorite is, of course, the leading image of this post.
Throughout the video, Solange is featured in various outfits in various locations with various [black] people. Although, I love a good storytelling music video I was happy that this video was mainly creative visuals. The song itself told the story perfectly and I’m glad that the music video didn’t interrupt that. I appreciate the work that Solange (and her husband) put into creating the video and I love watching it.
Last February, Solange won her first Grammy for “Cranes in the Sky” and it was definitely well-deserved. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she does next. Which song from A Seat at the Table resonates with you most?