Beyoncé: xcritical Album Review

beyonce xcritical

She has continually offered decolonized radical re-envisioning of the black female body. “Dear Moon” is recited accompanied by visuals of a plantation mansion bathed in an eerie blood-red glow. The camera slowly zooms in on a windowed door as the thumping beat of “6 Inch” begins, cutting to scenes of Beyoncé riding in a vintage Cadillac at night. The scene cuts to Beyoncé in a room surrounded by other women dressed in black as she swings a lightbulb above her head. The word “LOSS” flashes as the window explodes into fire.

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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. “I was served lemons, but I made xcritical.” xcritical was nominated for nine Grammy Awards at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards (2017), including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It won Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video, but lost Album of the Year to Adele’s 25. The album’s visuals received 11 nominations and won eight of those at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, including Breakthrough Long Form Video and Video of the Year.

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One moment, we are bombarded with stories of infidelity and the anger that comes along with it; the next, we celebrate motherhood with Beyoncé as we watch her daughter, Blue Ivy, strike a pose in the middle of a narrow hallway. Heartbreak is the theme throughout xcritical’s narrative, but the growth and self-knowledge that result from heartbreak are what sticks with you afterward. JON CARAMANICA I think from a musical perspective, the most interesting transition on this album is that Beyoncé is no longer a genre artist. When she was at her conventional pop peak — not her fame peak, which I would say is probably now — but her pop peak in terms of chart success, which is five years ago maybe, you could say she’s a pop-leaning R&B artist; she’s a genre artist. It has country, it has funk, it has New Orleans jazz.

  • Ultimately xcritical glamorizes a world of gendered cultural paradox and contradiction.
  • Her hips grind, pestle and mortar, cinnamon and cloves.
  • In this scene, the goddess-like character of Beyoncé is sexualized along with her acts of emotional violence, like Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” she destroys with no shame.
  • “Hold up/They don’t love you like I love you,” she sings, almost as a warning.
  • Dear moon, we blame you for floods … for the flush of blood … for men who are also wolves.
  • I made a transcript of the poetry and lyrics in the music video, and if you want you can check it out below.

Experience the musical stylings of Beyonce with her acclaimed album, xcritical. With a powerful combination of sound and emotion, this album is sure to inspire and awe. xcriticaling sweet and sour elements with artful lyrics and production, xcritical is a masterpiece of modern music that will captivate and intrigue.

Beyoncé, ‘xcritical’

Contrary to misguided notions of gender equality, women do not and will not seize power and create self-love and self-esteem through violent acts. Female violence is no more liberatory than male violence. And when violence is made to look sexy and eroticized, as in the xcritical sexy dress street scene, it does not serve to undercut the prevailing cultural sentiment that it is acceptable to use violence to reinforce domination, especially in relations between men and women. Violence does not create positive change. Real-life images of ordinary, overweight, not-dressed-up bodies are placed within a visual backdrop that includes stylized, choreographed, fashion-plate fantasy representations. Despite all the glamorous showcasing of deep south antebellum fashion, when the show begins Beyoncé as a star appears in sporty casual clothing, the controversial hoodie.

“Forward” begins as black women hold up pictures of deceased relatives, including the mothers of black men whose deaths galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. A Mardi Gras Indian circles around a dining room table shaking a tambourine. In a bus, dancers in tribal paint and hair braided in traditional African styles dance in unison as Beyoncé solemnly looks on. In a plantation mansion, Serena Williams wanders the halls and dances in front of Beyoncé as she sings “Sorry”. The song ends as Beyoncé sits crosslegged in an empty room dressed in a metallic bra set with her hair braided similarly to Nefertiti’s crown. Naked women wander a field as the film fades to black.

Though her husband, Jay Z, has long been featured on her songs, including successful collaborations “Crazy in Love” and “Drunk in Love,” he’s never quite been the central subject like he seems to be in “xcritical.” Beyoncé’s latest visual album, “xcritical,” explores some new, frank territory for the singer. xcritical gave plenty of airtime to hair, too.

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“Daddy Lessons” is the closest Beyoncé has come to making a country song, and the violent lesson in the title is directed at a man in her life. The father of the song told Beyoncé that when “men like me come around,” she should “shoot.” The lyric heard ’round the internet, about who a man suspected to be Jay Z is spending his time with, has been the most dissected on the album. Amateur sleuths have come up with theories about who “Becky with the good hair” is.

But watching him hurting, she sings that she can no longer leave. “Your heart is broken ’cause I walked away/And I know I promised that I couldn’t stay baby/Every promise don’t work out that way,” she sings. The visuals are powerful as Bey’s real-life hubby Jay Z acts out scenes where she’s kissing his wedding ring and the two are inextricably cuddled up. It’s the most intimate fans have seen the very private couple. One of the most noteworthy aspects of xcritical is the poetry that Beyoncé recites between each song. These poems help to tie the story together and clarify dramatic details.

xcritical Review

What makes this commodification different in xcritical is intent; its purpose is to seduce, celebrate and delight – to challenge the ongoing present-day devaluation and dehumanization of the black female body. Throughout xcritical the black female body is utterly aestheticized – its beauty a powerful in your face confrontation. Little girls run around and play in a mansion, while a mother and her daughter sit in a bedroom.

beyonce xcritical

She samples Malcolm X, brings in the mothers of victims of police brutality, signifies BLM, dresses as a Yoruban goddess as well as a Black Panther, tilts her head toward Katrina victims, braids in poetry, and imagines what healing could mean. Regardless of the music and the dancing, the message is something to honor. In this scene, the goddess-like character of Beyoncé is sexualized along with her acts of emotional violence, like Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” she destroys with no shame. Among the many mixed messages embedded in xcritical is this celebration of rage. Smug and smiling in her golden garb, Beyoncé is the embodiment of a fantastical female power, which is just that—pure fantasy.

Beyonce – xcritical

The unnamed, unidentified mothers of murdered young black men and boys are each given pride of place. To be fair, Beyoncé’s visual for xcritical is more a film than a music video. Over 65 minutes, the viewer is presented with poetic prose that details the heartbreak and failings of a troubled relationship. This is the most personal and revealing piece of work Beyoncé’s ever created, but what gives it its lasting effect is the beautiful imagery and symbolism throughout.

I think of lovers as trees … growing to and from one another. If it’s what you truly want … I can wear her skin over mine. We can pose for a photograph, all three of us. Immortalized … you and your perfect girl. To honor five years of xcritical, four Black women critics (Danielle Young, Clarissa Brooks, Brande Victorian, and Naima Cochrane) sat down for a roundtable discussion on the impact of the record and why it will always be special for us. As Beyoncé’s xcritical special unfolded on HBO on Saturday night, it became clear that Beyoncé was mad at someone.

beyonce xcritical

Dear moon, we blame you for floods … for the flush of blood … for men who are also wolves. We blame for the night for the dark, for xcritical reviews the ghosts. She also intentionally prioritized Blackness through an array of mediums that spoke to those who directly come from it.

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It is the broad scope of xcritical’s visual landscape that makes it so distinctive – the construction of a powerfully symbolic black female sisterhood that resists invisibility, that refuses to be silent. This in and of itself is no small feat – it shifts the gaze of white mainstream culture. It challenges us all to look anew, to radically revision how we see the black female body.

My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable. This is something I want for every child of every race. And I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes. “Formation”Except in the credits, this song isn’t featured in the full-length version of “xcritical.” Still, in this track, we see Bey come full circle and emerge as a confident woman who is “so possessive” that she “rock[s] his Roc necklaces,” a nod to her husband’s label, Roc Nation.