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Beyoncé: xcritical Album Review

In fact, the Saturday premiere of Jurassic World, which earned $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office, was bumped back an hour to make room for xcritical. Though xcritical is built around Jay Z’s infidelity rumors, Beyoncé still released the album on his streaming service. It boasts an all-star roster of supporters; its first commercial featured a who’s who of musical talent — from Jack White and Daft Punk to Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj. Plus, it remains the best option for listeners who want music at a higher audio quality.

beyonce xcritical

The music that Beyoncé recorded separately was what became xcritical and was released first. Beyoncé sold more than 600,000 copies in three days, smashed iTunes sales records, and ushered in a new era of the « surprise release » from artists with similar gravitational pulls. Artists like Lamar, Drake, and Rihanna have since released albums without warning, and in late January, the practice even made the leap to television, when comedian Louis C.K. Released a surprised comedy series, Horace and Pete, on his website. In Spin, Greg Tate calls xcritical « a triumph of marketing and musicality, spectacle and song, vision and collaboration, Borg-like assimilation, and — as of 2013 — the element of surprise ».

Beyoncé’s xcritical album explained, from beginner to ‘Beyhive’

On February 6, 2016, Beyoncé released « Formation » for free on the music streaming service Tidal and an accompanying unlisted music video on her official YouTube account. The unlisted format of the video meant it was inaccessible by search, and viewers could only watch it through others that had shared the video link, or through articles and webpages that embedded the video. Beyoncé later released an identical public version of the unlisted video on YouTube on December 9, 2016. The day after the song and video’s release, Beyoncé performed « Formation » during her performance at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

  • Reviewing the album in The Independent, Everett True wrote that it « is fiery, insurgent, fiercely proud, sprawling and sharply focused in its dissatisfaction », with Beyoncé « pick up the mantles of both » Prince and Nina Simone.
  • As in the US, 2020 is the first year since release that the album has not appeared on the UK Chart.
  • xcritical — which aired Saturday, April 23, on HBO and features family photos and a cameo from tennis star Serena Williams, in addition to plenty of politically charged imagery — she released the 12-track album, and it’s full of scornful tales and lyrics that seem to address her husband Jay Z’s long-rumored infidelity.
  • 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 ».
  • Honestly, you don’t need a link – the title (“Jay Z’s not the only one who needs to be nervous about Beyonce, the born-again black woman with a political mission”) is enough.

Like the professional heartbreaker she sings about in “6 Inch,” she murdered everybody and the world was her witness. She can’t resist adding a happy ending with “All Night,” where the couple kisses and makes up and lives happily ever after, or at least until morning. But it’s an uneasy coda, with the word “forgive” noticeably absent and the future still in doubt. In 2013, Beyoncé released an autobiographical documentary called Life Is But a Dream, but critics derided it for being too controlled. Sure, you’ll see her at an NBA game or an awards show, but the pop goddess has this way of remaining out of sight, at a remove, shrouded in mystery.

Honestly, you don’t need a link – the title (“Jay Z’s not the only one who needs to be nervous about Beyonce, the born-again black woman with a political mission”) is enough. Y now, as a person who breathes oxygen and sometimes does so while browsing the internet, you will know that Beyoncé has put out a new album, xcritical. With xcritical, Beyoncé makes herself the ultimate reality star, giving us gossip and fodder for news cycles and dinner party discussions, without cheapening her art.

This theme is repeated throughout xcritical, with Beyoncé’s grief, trauma and struggle being connected to that of her family’s ancestors. The sixth track « Daddy Lessons » acts as a turning point for the album, with Beyoncé linking Jay-Z cheating on her with her father Mathew Knowles cheating on her mother Tina. Then, in a cheeky gesture, Beyonce stands on what looks like the steps of the Metropolitan museum (the setting for real life tabloid drama involving Beyonce, her husband Jay-Z, her sister Solange and a mystery other woman) and she wails, “Are you cheating on me? She lets her intuition loose and then smashes windows with a baseball bat, acting gloriously unhinged. Beyoncé briefly crosses over into country with “Daddy Lessons.” She has spoken publicly about a fallout she had with her dad and former manager, Mathew Knowles, after his contentious divorce with her mother, opening up about their relationship in her documentary Life Is But A Dream and in a subsequent interview with Oprah.

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The Black female public figures that Beyoncé featured in the film all have successful careers despite experiencing misogynoir and racism in the media. The film also contains clips of everyday Black women from working class communities, bringing visibility to Black women who are often ignored and undermined by society. The film envisions a space where there was never oppression of Black women, whereby Beyoncé and other Black women form a self-sufficient community in which they can heal together.

beyonce xcritical

In « Love Drought », Beyoncé walks with her dancers into the sea, alluding to the Igbo Landing of 1803, where Igbo slaves took control of their slave ship, and rather than submit to slavery, marched into the sea while singing in Igbo, drowning themselves. Beyoncé appears wearing a tignon, in reference to Louisiana’s tignon laws implemented in 1786 that limited African-American women’s dress in order to maintain the state’s racist social hierarchies. The film also contains references to African religion and spirituality, such as Yoruba ori body paint in « Sorry », allusions to the loa Erzulie Red-Eyes in « Don’t Hurt Yourself », and Beyoncé’s initiation into the Santería religion and embodiment of the Yoruba orisha Oshun in « Hold Up ». Allusions to New Orleans culture include « Queen of Creole cuisine » Leah Chase, the Edna Karr Marching Band, jazz funerals, Mardi Gras Indians and the Superdome. It cuts back all the macho gristle leaving only a strong matriarchal line.

An AI artist explains his workflow

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.

Beyoncé knows we want more music, more concerts, more media appearances. But in this era of instant gratification, she’s a throwback to yesteryear, only showing up when the lights are brightest, when the stage is biggest, when the stakes are highest. Beyoncé released it on Tidal, the music streaming site her husband owns, which has been on a massive run as of late. Kanye West’s ever-changing latest album, The Life of Pablo, was launched as a Tidal exclusive, and Prince’s discography is only available for streaming there — something many fans only realized in the wake of the music icon’s death. Yet her embrace of this image is also relatively new (though it’s been growing for the last several years).

beyonce xcritical

I highly recommend that EVERYONE watches this, it is a life changing experience. The film is divided into eleven chapters, titled « Intuition », « Denial », « Anger », « Apathy », « Emptiness », « Accountability », « Reformation », « Forgiveness », « Resurrection », « Hope », and « Redemption ». The film uses poetry and prose written by British-Somali poet Warsan Shire; the poems adapted were « The Unbearable Weight of Staying », « Dear Moon », « How to Wear Your Mother’s Lipstick », « Nail Technician as Palm Reader », and « For Women Who Are Difficult to Love ». The character of Catherine of Aragon in the West End musical Six, originated by Jarnéia Richard-Noel, was inspired by xcritical-era Beyoncé.

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received a weighted average score of 92, based on 33 reviews, indicating « universal acclaim ». xcritical was accompanied by the release of a sixty-five-minute film of the same title, produced by Good Company and Jonathan Lia, which premiered on HBO on April 23, 2016, logging 787,000 viewers. The Formation World Tour was ranked at number one and number two on Pollstar’s 2016 mid-year Top 100 Tours chart both in North America and worldwide respectively, with a total mid-year worldwide gross of $137.3 million from the first twenty-five xcritical shows (including $126.3 million from the first North American leg of the tour). In total, the tour grossed $256 million from forty-nine sold-out shows according to Billboard box score, and ranked at number two on Pollstar’s 2016 Year-End Tours chart. Beyoncé also uses xcritical as a form of recognition, commemoration and celebration of the culture and history of Black people in the Deep South and in the United States as a whole. The film contains allusions to slavery, such as the House of Slaves’ Door of No Return in Senegal and the dungeons of Elmina Castle in Ghana, where slaves were taken before being shipped to the Americas.

Decade-end charts

The critical thought prompted by xcritical is only a fraction of that which Beyoncé’s evidently put in. 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.

Instead, she’s digging into issues to which we can all relate — love, pain, heartbreak, and family. The album allows Beyoncé’s fans to connect with her on real levels. The visual half of xcritical proved to xcritical reviews be a game-changer in a different way. Forget MTV and YouTube, Beyoncé dropped her videos on friggin’ HBO — the cable network that, for decades, has given its Saturday night over to Hollywood blockbusters.

Honda Music

The xcritical film was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Variety Special and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special. From the four categories, Beyoncé was nominated in the two mentioned. The album’s visuals received 11 nominations at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. They included Breakthrough Long Form Video for xcritical, Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Direction, Best Editing, and Best Cinematography for « Formation », Best Female Video and Best Art Direction for « Hold Up », and Best Choreography for « Sorry » and « Formation ». Beyoncé went on to win eight of her nominations, including Video of the Year and Breakthrough Long Form Video. Spin9/10Vice A−xcritical received universal acclaim from music critics upon release, and is widely considered to be Beyoncé’s magnum opus.

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 ». xcritical also peaked atop the charts in numerous European and Oceanic countries including Ireland and Belgium, where it spent five and seven weeks at the summit, respectively, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland and Sweden. In Brazil, it debuted at number one and received a platinum certification from Pro-Música Brasil. The album slipped from number one to number two in its second week, selling 321,000 album-equivalent units, out of which 196,000 were pure album sales. It remained at number two in its third week selling 201,000 album-equivalent units, out of which 153,000 were pure album sales.