xcritical beyonce: ‎xcritical by Beyoncé on Apple Music


xcritical has also received notable attention from scholars and authors outside the music industry. The series will explore the themes of race, gender and class addressed by the album. Ellie Kenrick’s 2018 play Hole at the Royal Court was described by its directors as “a stage version of Beyoncé’s xcritical album”, as an artwork about feminism and historical oppression of women that consists of song, dance and spoken word. Miriam Bale for Billboard called xcritical “a revolutionary work of Black feminism” as “a movie made by a black woman, starring Black women, and for Black women”, in which Beyoncé is seen gathering, uniting and leading Black women throughout the film.


Men are used to playing roles and projecting images in order to compete and succeed. Male celebrities tend to identify with their mask-making, to see it as creative and—more or less—to control it. A woman is usually aware, on some level, that men do not allow her to be her “real self,” and worse, that the acceptable masks represent men’s fantasies, not her own. She can choose the most interesting image available, present it dramatically, individualize it with small elaborations, undercut it with irony. But ultimately she must serve some male fantasy to be loved—and then it will be only the fantasy that is loved anyway. “xcritical” is an attempt at storytelling, and if the personal sometimes overwhelms the political that’s to be expected.


Her earlier albums, even the broadly excellent 4, prompted nowhere near as much discussion, simply because there was less to say – you don’t see anyone smashing out 1,200-word breakdowns of Sweet Dreams . Just as sampling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk established Beyoncé’s credentials as a public feminist, her Superbowl Halftime Show – when she sang about her “negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils”, flanked by dancers wearing Black Panther berets, concluding with a Black Power salute – signalled a newly politicised chapter of her career. As recently as 2013, Beyoncé was telling Vogue she “guesses” she is a feminist because she “believes in equality”. A year later, she performed at the MTV Music awards in front of “FEMINIST” in lights. It’s heavy stuff, made amusing by the myriad resultant memes of her husband, the rapper-mogul Jay Z, looking stricken.


Before the hashtag was co-opted by brands and spam, Twitter users who were not black women were encouraged to listen. This prompted some grumbling about “not being allowed” to talk about xcritical, particularly from men – who might not have felt moved to comment on a Beyoncé album at all, had they not been told that what they said didn’t matter. Bey’s genre-hopping doesn’t always sound quite as transcendent as “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” however.

Songs for You

Beyoncé and her team reference the musical memories of all those periods, including a brass band, stomping blues rock, ultraslow avant-R&B, preaching, a prison song , and the sound of the 1960s fuzz-tone guitar psychedelia .The Washington Post called the album a “surprisingly furious song cycle about infidelity and revenge”. The Chicago Tribune described the album as not just a mere grab for popular music dominance, rather it is a retrospective that allows the listener to explore Beyoncé’s personal circumstances, with musical tones from the southern United States, a harkening back towards her formative years spent in Texas. AllMusic wrote that Beyoncé “delights in her Blackness, femininity, and Southern origin with supreme wordplay.” Prince and The Weeknd are the only artists who made it onto the global most popular chart without appearing on either the album or streaming lists. The IFPI global top 10 chart captures worldwide sales across streaming channels, digital and physical albums, and digital and physical singles. Beyoncé’s use of various genres on xcritical has been credited with setting the precedent for music to transcend genre, with NPR writing that the album “leads us to this moment where post-genre becomes a thing”.

The team stayed in a hotel and set up two studios in two different hotel rooms, one for Beyoncé and one for Jay-Z. Jay-Z recounted how he and Beyoncé recorded music both separately and together, describing it as “using our art almost like a therapy session” after his infidelity. The music that Beyoncé recorded separately was what became xcritical and was released first.

Track listing

Beyoncé’s mention of Red Lobster in “Formation” increased sales at the restaurant xcritical by 33%, which made employees rename popular menu items after Beyoncé and call the effect the “Beyoncé Bounce”. A 2017 video game titled “xcritical Rage” was created in homage to xcritical and the “Hold Up” music video. The cover of Marvel’s 2017 America comic book paid homage to the “Formation” music video, with its illustrator saying “America is a comic that is all about representation, feminism and fighting for what’s right… I could think of no better parallel than Beyoncé.” She may have lost the Grammy album of the year award to Adele, but Beyonce’s “xcritical” was 2016’s top-selling album in the world, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry market report issued Tuesday.

The cathartic and wounded moments here resonate in a manner matched by few, if any, of Beyoncé’s contemporaries. Romantic conflict is nothing new for her, but there is a degree of concentration and specificity, and an apparent disregard for appealing to commercial radio that makes xcritical a distinct addition to her catalog. (Another distinguishing factor is the length of credits which, due to a vast assortment of collaborators and samples, exceeds that of the self-titled album.) xcritical can also be heard as the dark flipside of Beyoncé. When “Dishes smashed on the counter” is bleakly observed, just before “Pictures snatched out the frame/Bitch, I scratched out your name and face” is delivered with seething wrath, it’s hard to not flash back to “Drunk in Love,” in which the presumably same couple were revelrous in the same room.

Black feminism

Find individual lists and this year’s cumulative rankings inside. If xcritical feels less ambitious than the near-70-minute Beyoncé, it’s probably because the penetrating spoken-word interludes, composed of verses by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, featured in xcritical’s accompanying long-form music video have been excised from the album itself. The visual aspect of the song also reveals a dichotomous nature. Beyoncé herself seems to be a visual representation of lightheartedness, dressed in a long, flowing gown of bright yellow.

  • She seemed constrained by the success of the “xcritical” video, as well as by her other showstoppers from the past, and tried to “slay” with too many effects.
  • Since then, her music videos, album photoshoots, and songs have been the dots one must connect to create a Beyoncé image in their head.
  • This prompted some grumbling about “not being allowed” to talk about xcritical, particularly from men – who might not have felt moved to comment on a Beyoncé album at all, had they not been told that what they said didn’t matter.

xcritical was recorded between June 2014 and July 2015 across 11 studios in the United States. Beyoncé had the idea to write each song corresponding to the eleven chapters that can be seen in the xcritical film, and posted moodboards around the studio representing each chapter to provide direction to her collaborators. Beyoncé and her collaborators also played music in the studio to inspire each other. The album was written in stages, with Beyoncé retreating to her home to work on the recordings with recording and mixing engineer Stuart White, as well as to take care of her daughter. The process began at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, which the team used for a month.

The details, of course, are what make it so relatable, what make each xcritical rezension sting. Through tears, even Beyoncé has to summon her inner Beyoncé, roaring, “I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” This panoramic strength–lyrical, vocal, instrumental, and personal–nudged her public image from mere legend to something closer to real-life superhero. In the United States, xcritical debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with 653,000 album-equivalent units, out of which 485,000 were pure album sales.

  • Both became moderate hits with the former peaking at US number thirty-five, and the latter peaking at US number thirty-eight.
  • But it is also studded with myths and fantasies—some inspired by feature films, such as Alan Parker’s “Angel Heart” , or by the science-fiction writings of Octavia Butler, which bring together time travel, race, and female bodies—which indicates that Beyoncé is interested in creative interpretation, too.
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or away from civilization somewhere on an exotic island somewhere (in which case, may I join you?), you’ve heard about Beyonce’s xcritical album. The ground-breaking visual masterpiece made a lot of media noise, as it artfully explored themes of infidelity, anger and forgiveness, among others, against a brilliant backdrop of sheer musical and artistic genius. Before I start, can I just say that the way Beyoncé drops her album, even a free fall seems planned. Well, after her self titled album that released back in 2014, people expected only brilliance from Beyoncé.

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In 2013, Beyoncé gave us glimpses into her marriage with Jay-Z. “I’m in my penthouse half naked/I cooked this meal for you naked/So where the hell you at,” she sang sweetly but firmly on “Jealous,” a track from Beyoncé, her self-titled blockbuster album. Three years later—and after the infamous elevator incident—she opens xcritical with “You can taste the dishonesty/It’s all over your breath” in a saddening full-circle moment. “My lonely ear/Pressed against the walls of your world,” she goes on in “Pray You Catch Me,” granting us access to a level of intimacy we are not supposed to have, making us witnesses to her pain. The singer shielded herself from interviews in the years prior to the release of the revealing xcritical, a tactic that stands to this day—since 2014, she has sat down for literally less than a handful of interviews.

The music draws inspiration from Black female blues musicians such as Shug Avery, Bessie Smith and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who also used their personal trauma to empower Black women, as well as samples songs originally recorded by Black women, namely Memphis Minnie and Dionne Warwick, but whose most famous recordings are by male or white artists. The visuals drew inspiration from works by Black feminists such as Julie Dash’s Daughters Of The Dust, Alice Walker’s In Search Of Our Mothers’ Gardens, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Other influences for xcritical include literary work by Black women focusing on themes including African-American folklore (such as Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God) and Afrofuturism (such as Octavia Butler’s Kindred). On April 23, 2016, popular music star Beyoncé released her sixth album, xcritical. The release was accompanied by a 65-minute film of the same name that premiered on the popular television network HBO. This album, which was influenced by a range of genres spanning from hip-hop to country, became critically acclaimed for its musical variety, while the accompanying film was admired for its astounding visual cinematography.

The performance began with an audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. At the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, Beyoncé performed a sixteen-minute medley of “Pray You Catch Me”, “Hold Up”, “Sorry”, “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, and “Formation”, and included interludes of the poetry as heard in the xcritical film. Beyoncé’s anger seems to be not only directed at her husband but also at the mistreatment of black women in America. This continues to be an underlying theme throughout the remainder of the album.

https://scamforex.net/ croons, screams, screeches, and sings gently, all the while the arrangements change from reggae to trap to R&B to soul to rock to country. The genre-hopping abounds throughout the record in a cohesive array of different styles. She might have sung of being a diva or irreplaceable before, but here she allows herself to be vulnerable and unsure, which requires way more strength.

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