Fans everywhere celebrate the release of Beyonce’s new visual album. Countless tweets of “Bey is queen”, “Beyonce is f***ing perfect”, “all I want in life is to be Beyonce”, and “I’m feelin’ this new album” made me curious. So I decided to check it out and see what all the hype is about. So I decided to write this, a mix of a review and observations of current culture and evidence of our continued downward spiral. Some people will find this extremely offensive, but I’d like to say 1) I’m entitled to an opinion, 2) I’m not attacking Beyonce, only her ideas and possibly subconscious support of ideas that do nothing to build up females of today, 3) I find this new album offensive, as a female, as a Christian, as a daughter, as someone trying to contribute to society, and someone trying to hope that there might still be good guys out there. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I mess up everyday, but I’m trying to be mindful of the content I listen to and watch, I fail at that often, but the blind and thoughtless praise of Beyonce and this new album needs to be dissected. We need to wake up and realize that support of music like this is precisely what is ruining society’s ideas and producing a society full of girls who are holding themselves to the wrong standard and men whose respect of women is basically non-existent.
First here’s a positive regarding this album, “Beyonce.” Her “making of” video for the new album begins with her explanation of why she did this album, “I see music” says Beyonce. All good there, nothing wrong with seeing music and having a desire to make it come alive in another dimension for people everywhere. The idea behind a visual album is inspiring and shows her complete dedication to her craft, if only her craft was as uplifting and encouraging as the idea for a visual is. An idea with lots of potential turned into a sexual, objectifying, self-worshipping mess. “The vision in my brain is what I wanted people to experience” yet if the 17 music videos are any indication of what happens in her brain, then maybe she needs a psych evaluation. In fact it makes me feel sorry for her, countless hours of hard work and raw talent invested in a project that does nothing to lift people up, something that I wouldn’t be comfortable recommending to anyone, and something that is over all just dirty. So props to her for having the idea of making a visual album and if her motive was truly to share from the heart, I guess that’s honorable, but if what’s in her heart is portrayed in the videos accompanying the album then she is just like every other sexual, provocative, self-obsessed female that our culture is obsessed with objectifying and that saddens me.
I’ve been noticing a recent trend among people in the age bracket of 13-30, celebrity worship. Of course we all fall prey to fandom and I think that’s normal, but it’s when we begin to worship someone or elevate another human being to a level we think we can’t attain, a level that we call perfection, that is when it gets dangerous. Many celebrities don’t deal with the attention correctly and begin thinking that they deserve the adoration and are no longer honored and humbled to be performing for fans but begin expecting fan worship and using their influence for selfish causes. Example 1: “Haunted” begins with an announcer stating that “the winner is Beyonce Knowles, female pop vocalist” (Beyonce is one to learn from if the goal is establishing your own credibility) and it goes on to jab at the book of the Bible, Song of Solomon a beautiful description of married love, “I could sing a song for Solomon or Salamander.” The reason for this lyric is lost on me but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s there. How quickly she has forgotten the work it took to get to where she is today, evident by the lyric, “ all these people on the planet working, working 9 to 5 just to stay alive, how come.” How come? Maybe because not everyone has reached their dreams yet, maybe because the feeling of hard work isn’t lost on everyone, maybe because not every person has the same opportunity, and maybe because to some degree work is an obligatory part of life. People hear pop culture singing about this and a sense of entitlement begins to grow, “I shouldn’t need to work, I want to follow my dreams without working, I should be elevated to the level I deserve.” And then Beyonce’s attitude of self-obsession takes a whole new level in my personal favorite, “flawless” where she humbly tells the general public to, “bow down bi***es, bow bow down bi***es” and finishes with the “we flawless, ladies tell ‘em”. There’s a difference between self-confidence and self-worship and Beyonce clearly puts herself on a pedestal. As far as I know there was only one person who was ever flawless and He humbled himself so much because of His great love. Beyonce spends the entire album giving the rest of us evidence as to why she’s not flawless and then demands respect and worship as if she is. Apparently Beyonce has “superpower” that not even the world can stop. And instead of using her super powers to make the world a better place, she uses them for sex.
The opportunity to offer hope or positivity, present but not taken. “Pretty Hurts” speaks about the pressure society puts on girls to be a certain way, to look a certain way. The question is asked, “are you happy with yourself? And Beyonce answers, “yes” at the end of the track. But what about hope for those who aren’t society’s definition of “picture perfect”, it’s great that Beyonce is happy with herself. But girls watching this see their idol, who to them is the embodiment of perfection, her answering the question, “are you happy with yourself” could and probably is misinterpreted by many girls that the way to happiness is to be like Beyonce. She sings, “the soul needs a surgery” but doesn’t speak of what kind of surgery. I hear this song and think of the potential it had to be a song of healing but to me it just seems unfinished leaving the listener with nothing except that yes, Beyonce is happy with herself. “XO” is probably the second least offensive song and only because it doesn’t talk about sex in graphic detail and props to Beyonce for being decently clothed in the video and keeping the twerking to a minimum. Instead of holding each other to higher standards and striving to be our best, Beyonce is happy with her man realizing that he’s “no angel either” and I guess that’s just fine with her. Not that I’m saying people are perfect or should be perfect, but we can all strive to be better. (but maybe that takes too much effort). “Jealous” features an angry Beyonce who goes out and does the same thing her boy is doing because she’s jealous and wants him to feel the same way. Cheating is a problem in our society and instead of promoting trusting relationships, Beyonce decides the remedy is simple, he cheats on you, cheat back.
And of course the singer who would like you to think that she is empowering women, encouraging them to reach their full potential and so on, continues to be an inspiration to women everywhere with her descriptions of herself as a sexual object, “I walk down the hallway, you’re lucky, the bedroom’s my runway, slap me, I’m pinned to the doorway…”, so who can blame young men these days, lyrics like this are nothing more than a blatant invitation for objectification. “Drunk in Love” features a nasty video of Beyonce looking like she’s on crack calling out to Jay-Z because she’s so drunk in love. And no I’m not calling Bey nasty, she calls herself that, “I get filthy when that liquor gets into me”. The only positive thing about this video is that at least she is married to Jay. In my book though, he’s far from exemplifying the behavior of a selfless, loving, compassionate husband. “Blow” should just be called “sex”, that’s all I’m going to say about that. “Partition” is so graphic that I’m not going to mention a lot except for the fact that Beyonce is determined to convince a guy that she’s “the kinda girl he likes” and is willing to do whatever he wants. It’s all about his pleasure and she’s there to please is the message from this song. Wait, where’s female empowerment here? And don’t give me that crap about without the female the guys wouldn’t be happy, that’s not female empowerment that is putting a positive spin on objectification. “Rocket” is a song about soaring to your full potential, just kidding. It’s an XXX rated song leaving nothing to the imagination. “Mine” featuring Drake is song about owning each other and using each other to satisfy sexual needs alone, might I add that Drake who I have little respect for sings “One time, this is a song for the good girl” no it’s not. You don’t deserve a real “good girl” until you rise to her level and become a gentleman.
The song “heaven” also makes me sad, because it just assumes that a good person is going “home” to heaven. There’s only one way to heaven and it’s not based off of good deeds, good sex, superpower, possession, rockets, it’s through the One person who truly is flawless and it’s surprisingly not Beyonce! Blue is a celebration of her daughter, it’s sweet but the video seems kind of contradictory to the message.
In conclusion, to be a successful female in today’s society, apparently you must throw moral caution to the wind, sex up your life, and demand the world give you the respect that you apparently deserve. Hard work is “boring”, chastity is history, wealth and success are to be praised and if you want to do a really good deed you should probably make the world a visual pornography album that empowers females everywhere and in no one encourages objectification by men. Once you’ve elevated yourself to such a level that you can say, “bow down bitches” and people still want to be you, meet you, and adore you, you’ve really done something big in your life. Seriously though, I’m saddened by this album, by Beyonce’s warped views, I try to see the good in people and I would really like to think this is a result of being mislead somewhere along the way. Feministic power can be accomplished in a classy, moral way without demeaning others. Or we can use the 2013 approach and enforce our power through sex and derogatory language just like our male counterparts that we criticize for doing this very thing.