Then I saw a photo of the album cover and tracklist. It was real.
SHE DROPPED A FULL ALBUM??! WITH VIDEOS…FOR EVERY TRACK?! Checkmate.
I was still coming to terms with being a newly-inducted member of the Beyhive, but within two minutes I was up downloading the album knowing good and well that I had to be up for work at 6:30 a.m. Priorities.
When ranking her discography in the past, Dangerously in Love always held the top spot, but if I’m honest, that’s only because there’s a good bit of nostalgia linked to that album for me. Now, unless she drops tonight, BEYONCE is the best, hands down.
I’m not sure if it was a strategic move or simply because she couldn’t think of a catchy title, but after listening, it made perfect sense that this album was self-titled instead of the debut, which was her introduction as a solo artist.
BEYONCE’ seemed to be a complete representation of her and who she was in that moment: her own woman with a vibrant career, husband and child managing all of the complexities that stem from that. The album was reminiscent of old albums that were full bodies of work, unlike today’s musical landscape that focuses on singles and iTunes downloads. Her other albums, which I love dearly, were a hodge podge of well-produced tracks with her signature lyrics (“I can do for you what Martin did for the people.”). This time she was telling a carefully-put-together story.
By then it was clear that Mrs. Knowles-Carter had complete control of her career and image. She was either a branding genius or just a damned private individual. But it hadn’t always been that way. We’d grown up with her (*high-fives the 30+ Club*), watching her transition from the hated lead singer of Destiny’s Child who “tore the girl group apart” to the pop’s poster girl for all things perfect and right in American music. Little by little, she’d begun to show more of herself, but we still wanted to know who the real Beyonce was. What’s behind the glittery body suits and dance tights?
BEYONCE‘ was a declaration or maybe an emancipation from prison that superstardom seems to build for folks like her. A way to exhibit realness and establish even more of a connection with the fans who looked at her a goddess, not a human being. Surprise: she likes to get buzzed with her boo, she knows who Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is and no longer afraid to show her ass, figuratively and literally. She’s just like us. Nearly 20 years in the game, this was her coming out party.
She showed women that becoming a mother doesn’t mean you retire your sex appeal. You can be sexually liberated and promote feminist principles at the same damn time. You can have rocky periods in a relationship, yet still rest in its love. You can work your hardest and still take the time to cherish your family because they are who really matter. You can just not want to do it anymore (whatever “it” is for you) and be ready for something new. She’d paid her dues, and it was time to be herself unapologetically and present music that was a clear reflection of her life.
Since then she’s toured and performed in countless shows, still snatching wigs with the same set of songs every time. Word is she’s working on an album, and who knows how it’ll be released. Many other artists have tried the surprise digital drop, but they’ve all dimmed in comparison.
This marks #2YearsofBEYONCE. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another two years for the next chapter.