Last year, Beyoncé released her long-awaited sixth studio album, Lemonade, much to the delight of her ever-growing global following. Along with the release of her ‘sportswear’ brand, Ivy Park, the singer also released a 60-minute film, a series of ‘poetic visuals’ in which the singer attempts to provoke a variety of ideas such as race, parenthood and gender.
Obviously it went huge, obviously. And that’s great for her. That’s all very well and good, and I bow down to her success. If I had achieved the same amount as she has by the age of 34 then I like to think that people would bow down to me too, but there’s just something about the proclaimed ‘Queen B’ that I just don’t get. I’m even going to go as far and say that I think she’s incredibly overrated and we all give her far too much credit than she deserves.
I begin my somewhat controversial argument by saying that in no way is she an artist. She doesn’t write her own lyrics, produce her own music or I can imagine choreograph her own dance routines. She’s a performer, and merely a blank canvas for other, somewhat more creative people to work with. She’s certainly not talentless and if I could belt out a tune like her in the shower then I probably wouldn’t be sitting here in my dingy student house, but rather than simply embrace her vocals like Adele would, she tries too hard to be ‘edgy’, especially in her new Lemonade reincarnation. I’ll admit that she pulls it together well, but she’s nothing more than a hugely successful product of other peoples’ hard work, not the second coming of Christ.
Some of her older music is reasonably catchy and I think you’d be mad to not whip out your best booty shaking when Crazy in Love comes on in the club at 2am. But none of her singles evoke the same kind of emotions as other female singers out there. Most of her memorable song are duets or collaborations with another artist, often featuring her own (cheating) husband. If you don’t associate yourself as being part of the ‘Beyhive’ fan base, then I dare you to name one of her singles from the past few years that has had as big an impact as Single Ladies.
And that’s the other thing. Her music lacks originality, a substance, using the same mindless hip-hop beats as most chart music. I’d challenge you to name one of her performances where she isn’t wearing a leotard and a blonde weave, and her hair isn’t being blown seductively by a giant wind machine that’s blocking some poor member of the Beyhive’s view.
The one thing that gets me however is how can anyone call her a female role model? She claims she’s a feminist pioneer, yet the majority of her songs conform quite heavily to gender stereotypes. The lyrics to Partition for example say “I just wanna be the girl you like/The kind of girl you like”. Her music also contains several sexual and vulgar themes, singing about fucking her husband and taking him out if he ‘sexes good’, while quite happily singing lyrics such as “He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse/ He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown/ Oh Daddy, Daddy, he didn’t bring the towel/ Oh baby, baby, we better slow it down”. Does she merely embrace the issues of gender and race as marketing tools? She knows what sells and how to sell it, but surely if you want to empower women, then you don’t do the complete opposite and degrade them. Isn’t there a massive dichotomy in standing in front of a huge neon feminist sign, but embracing the opposite of feminism?
I don’t know, maybe I’m biased because I don’t think there’s ever been a female singer as great as Nina Simone and firmly believe that only Blair Waldorf can be Queen B, but there’s just something about Beyoncé that I will simply never understand. I’ll never dismiss her talent, of course she can sing, but behind the peroxide, the Super Bowl performances and endless advertising campaigns, there’s nothing more than a product of someone else’s creativity and a good PR team.
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● Beyoncé is weak for not leaving cheating-ass Jay-Z