Beyonce: Bow Down (Album Teaser)
SoundCloud single art
Well, the BeyHive (Beyonce’s fanbase) has been aching for ANY sign of new material and it isn’t clear if Beyonce’s upcoming album is finished or if there are plans for a single release in the near future, so it seems the Queen Bey decided to try to pacify her eager fans with a short audio teaser. Recently posted to her Tumblr, “Bow Down/I Been On” has one sung verse and one verse in Houston “chopped/screwed” style. The chopped/screwed part is mostly thanks and random ramblings, while Beyonce` boasts about being top-notch and reminds everyone that taking an extended break (the singer took hiatuses right before her 2011“4” album and around her pregnancy) does not mean she’s “fallen off” and she isn’t solely defined by her marital status. While I liked the sentiments behind the reminders, I didn’t care for the bragging tone of the song, the expletives or the musical production; it gave me post-traumatic stress flashbacks of the inartistic, basic and unsophisticated “Sasha Fierce” portion of “I AM…Sasha Fierce” (ex. “Video Phone” & “Diva”). “Bow” gave me elements of what I don’t like about some of Rihanna’s music and if you follow my site, you know that’s never a good thing. I hope that this isn’t indicative of what her new album will sound like. Listen to the track here.
Someone posted “I've been looking forward to a psych analysis of Beyoncé's doc from you,” so here it is. This one is for you :) Sorry it took so long; I ironically was on vacation in Beyonce’s hometown of Houston, which I refer to as the BeyHive promise-land :) Beyonce’s HBO documentary, “Life is But a Dream,” is relatable to anyone who is at a crossroad in their life and having to make uneasy choices. On her journey to trusting herself and listening to her inner voice, Beyonce` takes us through the process of deciding what to do with her art and personal life, restructuring her complicated relationship with her father, keeping her marriage strong and recovering from a miscarriage. As fan Angelena (@PoeticMoment) tweeted, “It was about more than her; but about faith and purpose;” and it truly was. Unsure of what direction to take in my own life as it pertains to my career aspirations, I felt so inspired by the film and my respect for Beyonce` as an artist and individual deepened. I figured that if someone who’s expected to have so much confidence and few questions about their life path could manage to feel discombobulated and get through it, maybe what seems unconquerable in my life really isn’t. The documentary serves almost as a how-to guide to finding resolve, peace and bravery in the face of fear or uncertainty. I know that sounds like a big statement, but if one listens closely, they can pull that from it. In a nutshell, the lessons to me were:
“I believe everything in our life, every person in our life…every relationship…everything is there for a reason and when you really pay attention, there’s certain little clues we get; it’s so crystal clear what the next step is. It’s like a puzzle; everything is in it right place and as we grow, we take the next step, the dots get connected and eventually we become what we’re supposed to be.”
This quote in particular struck a chord because just a few weeks ago, I was asking a dear friend of mine, who’s a theology student, how he undoubtedly knows what route God wants him to take. In the past, I felt that God guided me with my instincts, but currently, I don’t have any strong senses in any direction. My friend suggested I start a journal and be sure to write down even small details and search for a pattern. Speaking of God, if you’ve followed Beyonce’s career, you know that spirituality and faith has always been an integral facet of her life. I am still so in awe of how connected she is to her God and senses him everywhere. Even though I grew up in a conservative Christian household, I’ve always struggled to consistently sense the presence of God in an overwhelming way, but enough about me.
“I don’t know why I’m so fortunate and so blessed… my mom always told me that my grandmother was in the church lighting candles and praying for her and I am a result of my grandmother’s prayers. My mother prays for me all the time and I pray for my daughter all the time. God is real and God lives inside of me and inside of all of us and it doesn’t matter where I am, I know that and I feel it…it’s a tingling. It’s love. I feel it when I look at my child and I feel it when I look at my husband. It’s God.”
“I felt like God was giving me the chance to assist in a miracle…My baby was born out of a conflict in my life and that struggle had to be settled. If I hadn’t have gone through the pain, if I hadn’t had gone down the path, I’d probably be touring right now or shooting videos or editing a TV special. There’s no drum-roll or trumpet that goes off when you make the biggest decisions in your life. Sometimes, you don’t even know that you’ve made them.”
On the entertainment side of things, I just loved all of Beyonce’s commentary on her own music and the state of the industry. It’s really a double-edged sword as a pop-artist; commerciality gives you access to the world, but it often ends up being a stifling agent that defeats your purpose for wanting to reach a wider audience. “I felt like I had been so commercially successful; it wasn’t enough. There’s something really stressful about having to keep up with that. There’s something really crippling; you can’t express yourself. I don’t want to have to sing about the same thing for 10 more years. I want to be able to sing about how much I hate myself that day if that’s how I feel” (Check out my perspective on Beyonce’s discography here).
“People don’t make albums anymore…they just try to sell a bunch of little, quick singles; then they burn out and they put out a new one…people don’t even listen to a body of work anymore.”
Now that she has the household name, I’m beyond glad to see her at a place where she plans to make it more about quality versus quantity (which is why “4” and “Dangerously in Love” are my favorite albums). There are more than enough successful examples of artists who matched quality and quantity, but industry heads act like you have to choose. Oh, by the way, there’s a clip where she’s relived to get the approval of record label executives after an album preview meeting. I wanted to vomit. It makes me sick that some artists give their time, talent, heart and soul into a creation, only to have a small panel of people (who may or may not match the fan demographic) decide if it’s “good enough” for the masses. Who knows what musical gems never made it to a store shelf.
Seriously Beyonce`, WTH?!?
Most people figure out pretty quickly that I LOVE Beyonce`. She is my queen diva of choice. But every now and then, she does something that irritates or perplexes me. Here, I tell what's been buggin me about the Bee lately (with reviews and love for the Queen Bee in between).