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1.  Beyoncé is undoubtedly on the Mount Rushmore of best singles artist this century. It starts right out the gate with her debut solo record Dangerously in Love boasting "Crazy in Love,” "Me, Myself and I," "Baby Boy" (featuring Sean Paul)," "Naughty Girl," and "The Closer I Get to You" a duet with Luther Vandross.


 

2.  This woman works her ass off. Beyoncé’s touring schedule has been consistently aggressive, especially considering how big her shows are: live vocals, humongous choreographed numbers, tonnes of costume changes, elaborate stage sets involving pyro and splashy visuals, and descending swings performed nightly.

3.  They are not quick affairs either; The I Am… tour took 11 months and The Queen completed two tours in 2013 with Mrs. Carter and On the Run.

 

4.  Her singing is nothing short of virtuosic, with a massive range, a clear falsetto and a powerful lower register. 4 represented a new standard of the Beyoncé vocal with shatteringly powerful performances in “1 + 1” and "Rather Die Young." “Love on Top” features a mind boggling four key changes.


5.  In fact, it’s almost damn near impossible to cover Beyoncé without looking like a fool.



6.  With her Self-Titled, Beyoncé practically invented the surprise album drop. Further, Beyoncé creating a movie that purposed full versions of her songs in sequence effectively created the first album movie and set a new standard for visual media.

 

7.  In fact, everything Beyoncé puts out in the visual medium looks fantastic from her HBO doc & her tour trailers to her music videos & social media posts.

8.  Beyoncé’s lyrical allusions to sex are honest, healthy, realistic, and defiant. Regardless, they still caused issue with conservative America who have a tendency to oppose Beyoncé’s messages regarding politics and gender.


9.  While Beyoncé’s influence has reached cult-like levels, her position on social issues is nothing short of highly responsible, giving support to Black Lives Matter & womanist movements and speaking out against anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina.


10.  Her 2014 essay on gender equality is totally indicative of this:

We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn't a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of the voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.


11.  Beyoncé actually made a hobby out of writing in her spare time and her Essence cover story about her time off in 2010 won an award from the New York Association of Black Journalists.

 

12.  With Lemonade, Beyoncé set a new standard for storytelling in music, using the context of Black female history to define her personal struggles and creating accessible art from tragedy.

 



13.  She is a symbol of female empowerment and her use of her platform to support the feminist movement, sexual revolution, and womanism for a star of her size was beyond progressive before our cultural shift had taken place.

14.  What Beyoncé pulled off with Coachella 2018 basically made people reconsider live performances as art instead of promo and re-legitimized marquee festival slots.

 

15.  HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM was mixed like a DJ set, acted as a greatest hits collection, was recorded off the floor, and chronicled one of the most famous live performances in our time.


16.  Despite Prince playing three guitar solos, dancing, spinning, and wheeling his classics, Beyoncé still held her own at the 2004 Grammy Awards.


17.  Beyoncé is so good live, she literally swallowed Coldplay’s Half Time Show.



18.  She also told Chris Martin his song demo "Hook Up" was awful to his face.

19.  Beyoncé’s endorsement is earned, but far from rare as she’s given love to everything from HAIM to A$AP Ferg to Sean Paul. It’s a co-sign that has the ability to launch impressive careers with Beyoncé affiliated artists like Chloe X Halle and Boots holding impressive early catalogues of their own.

 

20.  Beyoncé very public fandom of indie music in the early 2010s felt like the coolest thing ever to a generation raised on blogs and festivals. Her and JAY-Z have made appearances at small Westwood indie shows bringing giddy excitement to bands like Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors and the influence of Brooklyn alternative music is all over Lemonade. Animal Collective is sampled on “6 Inch” and Ezra Koenig, Father John Misty, and Karen O are brought together for “Hold Up.”

Father John Misty’s stories about allegedly writing “Hold Up,” one proclaimed true and the other false:

Story #1:

About a year and half ago, my friend Emile Haynie played Beyonce some of my music, along with some tunes I've written for other people, back when she was looking for collaborators for the record...Pretty soon after they sent along the demo for "Hold Up", which was just like a minute of the sample and the hook. I'm pretty sure they were just looking for lyrics, but I went crazy and recorded a verse melody and refrain too that, unbelievably - when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo - ended up making the record - right between picking up the baseball bat and decapitating the fire hydrant.

Story #2:

I was mostly kind of in the dark, my involvement with the record kind of ends with me just sending off the demo, it wasn't until she came to my Coachella set in 2015 and told me personally it had made the record that I really had anything concrete with which to convince my friends that I hadn't actually gone insane.


21.  Beyoncé’s support for her sister has always been apparent and while Solange strives to do something almost entirely different than Bey, with a closer ear to the people’s struggle and a harder push at the sonic boundaries of pop music, they are still invariably linked through their effortless power and vocal similarity.

 

22.  Without the place of the Solange co-written “Get Me Bodied” and “Upgrade U,” B’Day would slap a lot less.


23.  It is this inclusive collaborative process that has yielded consistently great music and appropriate reinvention. It’s been the one point of contention from critics, with long lists of songwriters occupying credits and the icon never claiming a sole writing credit in her 20+ year career. But this seems to overlook an entity that encompasses much more than making music from scratch, and that is above all consistently of high quality.


24.  Beyoncé’s career long initiative to not be bound to any genre does not feel forced or appropriated whatsoever. When she made “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” her modern radio rock-inspired banger with Jack White she spent large amounts to license Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and flew down to White’s Third Man Records to record it, totally characteristic of her audacity.

 


25.  Similarly, “Daddy Lessons” isn’t a Beyoncé styled country song... it’s an actual country song and its connections to traditional American music holds narrative weight in the Lemonade story.


26. Don’t even talk to me about “Mi Gente” bro... It took Beyoncé to reggaetón and has the ability to set a dancefloor ablaze, but her respect for Latin culture goes deeper than a genre excursion, with royalties given to Puerto Rican natural disaster funds.



27.   Despite Beyoncé showing up in some pretty terrible movies, she knew that ultimately what mattered most was that there was at least one banger on the soundtrack.

Bad Movie: Austin Powers In Goldmember (2002)

Banger:

 

Bad Movie: The Fighting Temptations (2002)

Banger:

 

Bad Movie: The Pink Panther (2006)

Banger:

 

28.  Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001) is actually pretty good.

 

29.  And Obsessed (2009) is…you know, it’s not terrible.

30.  Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj’s friendship isn’t just a symbol of Black female success, it’s given us straight bangers.

 

31.  Beyoncé’s appreciation for rap music is far from bandwagon, putting real Houston screw icons on the “I Been On (Remix),” honouring Shawty Lo at her show in the ATL, and working closely with new trap stars like Mike WiLL Made-It, Offset, and Swae Lee.



32.   And Beyoncé can rap, really well actually and with a distinct style: an aggressive, half sung set of bars that boast and quip. What she lacks in technique is made up for in attitude.


33.  “Ring Off” is meta song writing on a high level, candidly touching on the divorce of her parents and father’s affair and hinting at suspicions of infidelity in her own marriage.

 


34.   Countdown

I. An animatedly elated track, made from a highly unpredictable arrangement worked on by 7 people.
II. An exuberant call to the power of love with worthy backing to a powerhouse performance. No genre is wasted: funk, R&B, Latin, 8bit, reggae, hip-hop, world beat, drum & bass are all thrown into the mix, making it perhaps the definitive later career Beyoncé single.


<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/9salgRp1eo60E" width="480" height="269" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/beyonce-9salgRp1eo60E">via GIPHY</a></p>

35.  4 was the perfect album to drop amid our cultural fetishization of the 1980s and the last gasp of a great indie movement, both of which the album smartly draws style points from.

 


36.  Beyoncé’s decision to move away from her father had massive implications on her creative output and the direction of her career, for the better in every way. Since claiming her artistic independence Beyoncé has reinvented the game for any artist worth their measure.

 


37.  Beyoncé’s business acumen also bloomed with her independence founding her management company in Parkwood Entertainment and building Ivy Park, her immensely successful athletic streetwear brand.

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38.  Her brand awareness is unparalleled, creating long and lucrative relationships with huge entities like HBO, adidas, H&M, Tidal, Disney, and Pepsi who has backed Bey since her early career, sponsoring most of her tours and producing her Super Bowl Halftime shows.

39.  Beyoncé’s affinity for fashion extends beyond wardrobe inspiring the costuming behind her blockbuster tours.

 


40.  Beyoncé owns the VMAs. Call it the ultimate middle finger to Grammy marginalization but Beyoncé’s decision to make MTV her stomping ground for everything from her pregnancy announcement to her Lemonade medley, is ultimately the right move with MTV’s connection to youth and unimportance of the awards themselves.

 

 

Salute to the legendary Beyoncé.





By:

SMACK MEDIA

Photo Credit:

10/16/2019 7:33 PM