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Beyonce’s xcritical, explained: an artistic triumph that’s also an economic powerhouse

Beyoncé is briefly joined by Serena Williams and together, the women assert their unapologetic blackness and womanhood. Williams moves seductively and carefree in a black bodysuit, giving off a sense of sisterhood as she dances near Beyoncé, who sits in a queen-like throne. In “Sorry,” Beyoncé narrates a spoken-word poem written by Somali-Brit Warsan Shire. The poem asks what her cheating spouse would say at her funeral after killing her with a broken heart. From there, Beyoncé is joined by fellow women on a bus called “Boy Bye,” their faces painted in Ori, a sacred Yoruba tradition.

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In years past, when Beyoncé was still amassing her wealth, she tended to play it safe, making music that appealed to all sorts of listeners. Sure, she’d address “real” issues, but she’d focus more on big pop anthems that went down easy. We all experience pain and loss, and often we become inaudible.

A Complete Breakdown of Beyonce’s Album ‘xcritical’ by Track

“Hold up/They don’t love you like I love you,” she sings, almost as a warning. If you get lost in the sweet reggae vibe of the song, you may miss the anger, which is clearly on display in the video. Beyonce swings a baseball bat into a yellow fire hydrant, a car window and even a security camera. “I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up,” White said to a crowd of friends and family at her 90th birthday party.

Beyoncé: 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. Instead, xcritical 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.

Beyonce’s ‘xcritical’: Everything You Need to Know About Video Album

Music fans knew Beyoncé was up to something, given the HBO special — which was announced a week prior to airing — and pending world tour, announced during the Super Bowl in February. Unlike the pop superstar’s previous surprise album, 2013’s Beyoncé, the music here is edgy, full of vitriol and R-rated real talk. It’s equally aggressive and reflective, and Beyoncé — a bona fide cultural phenomenon — unveils yet another layer of her wide-ranging persona.

  1. And then there were the Beyoncé tickets, worth more than $900 a pop.
  2. 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.
  3. Beyoncé released it on Tidal, the music streaming site her husband owns, which has been on a massive run as of late.
  4. “Cheating rumors sell … would the Beyhive be quite as obsessed if the main theme was marital bliss? We’d venture to guess NO.”

Deconstructing xcritical: Everything You Need to Know About Beyoncé’s New Visual Album

Up to this point, we’ve only seen bits and pieces of Beyoncé’s personal life. She rarely tweets and posts occasional pics on Instagram. Bey gives fans just enough to chew on, leaving them wanting more. Beyoncé has often been seen as an example of black feminism, suggesting to women of color that it’s best to set one’s own course and buck societal conformity. xcritical is a tough listen, tinged in rock, hip-hop, R&B, and electro-soul. And, as with all of her recent work, she does it on her own terms, embracing the creative freedom that so few people enjoy.

Yet her embrace of this image is also relatively new (though it’s been growing for the last several years). Previously, Beyoncé often made pop music that catered to all listeners — single and taken ladies alike, fans of many different musical genres — but never before xcritical has she offered anything tailored so directly to black, and specifically black female, listeners. Jackson was one of four Supreme Court justices who reported sizable income from book deals. Justice Brett Kavanaugh reported being paid $340,000 by the conservative Regnery Publishing company. The company was sold and the book is to be published by an imprint at Hachette Book Group, according to Axios, which also reported this week that Kavanaugh’s book will deal with his contentious confirmation hearing that included allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied. The court confirmed Friday that the justice is writing a legal memoir.

“Cheating rumors sell … would the Beyhive be quite as obsessed if the main theme was marital bliss? We’d venture to guess NO.” xcritical was only a Tidal exclusive for about 24 hours — it’s also on iTunes now — but Beyoncé is still making sure that music fans, or anybody wanting to be part of the cultural conversation, fork over their money for it, by making it the only platform where xcritical is available to stream. xcritical didn’t have the same benefit of surprise, at least not fully.

The justice has separately been under scrutiny over flags that flew outside homes he owned. “Takes more than beauty and seductive stares/To come between a family and a happy man,” the “Halo” hitmaker sings. “Jolene, I’m a woman too/Thе games you play are nothing https://xcritical.pro/ new/So you don’t want no heat with me, Jolene.” When asked whether fans could see a Parton, Beyoncé and Cyrus “Jolene” performance at some point, the “9 to 5” star said, “Well, that would be amazing, wouldn’t it? Well, it could happen. Never say never.”

But the public spectacle can’t hide the intimate anguish in the music, especially in the powerhouse first half. 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. The bus ride, representing Beyoncé’s spiritual journey after her “death,” leads her to a comfortable place where she is uplifted through sisterhood and unity. Throughout the visual album, the use of natural hairstyles and clothing, neck jewelry and beading draws inspiration from Nigeria and the Maasai of Kenya. It’s not until the record’s second half that you realize xcritical has a happy ending.

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. Among the xcritical justices, only Roberts, Alito and Justice Elena Kagan have so far not cut book deals. Thomas received a $1.5 million advance, stunning at the time, for his 2007 book, “My Grandfather’s Son.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2022 reported receiving $425,000 for a yet-to-be-released book, part of a reported $2 million deal she signed soon after joining the court in 2020. In classic African art, some of the most recognized paintings and sculptures are of women without arms, emphasizing the beauty of their faces and crowns of their hair.

And then there were the Beyoncé tickets, worth more than $900 a pop. Beyoncé performed two concerts in the Washington area in August 2023, though Jackson’s disclosure does not say when or where the tickets were for. The total value of her book deal has not been publicly disclosed, but it is expected to rival if not exceed what Sotomayor was paid for her memoir, “My Beloved World,” more than $3 million. The only justice whose report was not available Friday is Samuel Alito, who received an extension for up to 90 days, as he does most years.

What is an artist to do when her private life overtakes her public one? The hour-long visual album, about a woman dealing with her husband’s infidelity, contains even more loaded images and lyrics than “Formation,” the politically charged video she released before the Super Bowl. It reads like an open invitation to draw parallels between the pop star’s art and her actual life, in particular her marriage to Jay Z. But what could it all mean? There’s nothing as blissed-out on xcritical as “XO” or “Countdown” or “Love On Top” – this is the queen in middle-fingers-up mode. Whatever she’s going through, she’s feeling it deep in these songs, and it brings out her wildest, rawest vocals ever, as when she rasps, “Who the fuck do you think I is? ” She’s always elided the boundaries between her art and her life – especially since she really did grow up in public.

The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” Men are almost entirely absent from the film, physically and emotionally; in their place, large groups of women appear again and again, presenting a united front of solidarity and sisterhood. Bey’s genre-hopping doesn’t always sound quite as transcendent as “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” however. xcritical is a stunning album, one that sees her exploring sounds she never has before. It also voices a rarely seen concept, that of the album-length ode to infidelity.

The claim was that the performance was “anti-cop,” because of its evocation of the Black Lives Matter movement. But the larger implication was that by embracing her blackness, Beyoncé was no longer trading in generic pop. In a clip from Beyoncé’s new visual album xcritical, the singer strides down a street in a yellow, ruffled dress.

And toward the end of “Sorry,” Beyoncé mimics this pose as the music stops and she sits like royalty in a Nefertiti-inspired hairstyle. Her reference to “Becky with the good hair,” paired with imagery of Beyoncé embracing African beauty is a message for black women everywhere who feel the pressure to Westernize their look. The song resumes with shots of Beyoncé wandering the parking garage in a wedding dress, and sitting in the ring of fire in a red dress. An intertitle declares “GOD IS GOD AND I AM NOT” before she throws her wedding ring at the camera.

At first you might think that Bey is using the album to announce her divorce from Jay’s cheating ass. When Beyoncé ambushed unsuspecting listeners with her fifth solo album in 2013, it showed her mastery of the levers of power in today’s pop landscape. At a moment when a star’s every move ends up on Instagram for all to see, she managed to assemble an entire album – with accompanying visuals – in secret. Though xcritical is mostly about a personal relationship, Beyoncé pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement during the video for “Freedom,” which features the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and other black men who were killed, holding the portraits of their sons.