Thought Catalog

G’s Down, Ho’s Up: The Case For Considering The Genius, Not The Lifestyle, Of Beyoncé

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Heyterz – I don’t wanna start a fight. I just want to turn your cherries out.

This is an open letter to my friends and my family and all the other people who intend to avoid Beyoncé’s new album like they’re gawdamned special snowflakes. I won’t name names. You already know what your names are. Also, forgive me for the occasional literary transition into expletives during this diatribe; my emotions undulate under a tense surface, and every once in awhile, a wave breaks, and shit goes rocketing right up my waterfall.

Yes, collective y’all: the ones who laugh at my unbridled grinding against bumpy surfaces whenever Beyoncé drops an album. The ones who roll their eyes when I twerk in my ergonomic IKEA desk chair, rendering its sole purpose to keep my spine aligned completely useless. The ones who tell me I’m no different than the housewives who wait for the Oprah signal to flash in the sky. The ones who say I’m not the same for about two weeks after any major Bey LP release, which could potentially be confirmed with an MRI.

I’ve heard all your snide comments, like how Beyoncé has a favorite pair of slippers, but if you swapped them out for another pair, then those would be her new favorite pair of slippers. That shit is funny maybe. FOR A JOKE.

The subtext of this manifesto I write as I build the truth-bombs Imma bout to drop in the U.S. postal mail and overnight deliver to yo ass like Kaczynski and which you have to sign for? The subtext is hashtag: COME ON. I’ll back off, though; I don’t want to force Bey down your throat, so shit’s about to get real subtle all up in this bitch. But just in case I lose my mind, driver, roll up the partition, please.

You’ve given me a number of excuses as to why you won’t even listen to a couple songs – some of them implied, like you’re a prick. Are you worried that you’d hate it so much, you’d eschew all music forever? That listening to this woman would be the Burton Pugach equivalent of throwing lye in your ears, after which you’d eventually have to kill yourself because Beyoncé would’ve been the last voice to drift into your head? I’ve heard it all. And since you’ve said next to nothing about her music or style in your simple-ass justifications and you’re just rattling off opinions about her personal life, to which you are not privy, I can’t validate your decision. I can’t respect the big Magnum condom of Ignorance you just rolled over your pulsing brain.

The logical conclusion when I hear someone say “Bey? Meh” is for me to gyrate my body so violently I throw myself out of orbit with the earth and hurtle into interstellar space all in the name of making a very bold, declarative “I, Bey, Truth” statement. Because language and persuasive hand signaling don’t always suffice.

People say, “I’m indifferent toward her.” I respond with, “Have you actually heard any of the songs of her last three albums?” They say, “No.” I will say, “Then that explains your indifference. Actually, it explains it quite well. IN FACT, IT FULLY EXPLAINS IT.”

Sometimes I get esoteric on their asses. “I is Bey is you, for we are but the sum total of our thoughts. What am I but a heart beating and a mind feeling emotions and obscuring the nature of the very thing it wishes to ponder?” I say to blank stares. Then I’ll add: “Horses.” I’m a fucking masochist.

Once, I turned into a tantrum nightmare. “You is wrong. YOU IS DUMB,” I said to my best friend. I beat my chest with my fists of fury. But it left me in a far more vulnerable argumentative position than before. And good god if I’ve turned someone off of Beyoncé forever. Who will be there to forgive me when I can’t forgive myself?

A major R&B album drops and you won’t give it the time of day because… (these are real quotes by real people I swear I almost don’t know anymore):

“Beyoncé doesn’t write all her own songs, does she? I bet she can’t read sheet music.” (We be all night WE BE ALL NIGHT if you keep asking dumbass questions like this.)

“Isn’t she kind of a pop diva princess? Didn’t she shut down Lenox Hill Hospital when she gave birth and patients could only get in by rappelling?” (Yes, I’ve actually confirmed this to be a true story. Patients were found by the dozens suctioned to brick exteriors but were allowed back in real time as they popped off chimneys and façades. Also, nobody was killed or injured, so in my opinion, this kind of “evidence” is tantamount to a witch-hunt.)

“I didn’t care about Destiny’s Child, so why should I bother? Oh, I also didn’t like N’ Sync, but for some strange fucking inexplicable reason, I respect Justin Timberlake.”

“I like music, so I don’t want to ruin that by listening to her. She doesn’t sing R&B anyway. She’s a rich, happy black woman. Only sad people sing R&B.”

“She ditched her Destiny’s Child members when she went solo. That wasn’t very nice.”


Oy, Bey! Your criticisms sure are super specific! And what admirable criteria you hold all your bands and singers to! God, how do you find the time to listen to anything when you are vetting the backgrounds of every artist, like that? You are nothing if not conscientious. Only the morally best for you.

What’s the real gripe? Too many bitches singing these days? Katy, Miley, Britney, Yolandi, Brooke, Candy, Gaga, Mariah. Or… too many dicks still on the dance floor with their dick opinions? You think Beyoncé probably beats Bangerz? and Red? Oh rly? Is that all? You know what else it beats? EVERYTHING ELSE. Name a man, Bey pwnd his ass this year. This ain’t the Olympics, people. We don’t need wider lanes and bendier rules for the ladies.

A review I read a year ago talked about how she appeals to middle-class white women especially because they’re attracted to unlimited power. FUUUUUUUCK YOU. We all know middle-class white ladies don’t have an ounce of good taste. Thanks for lumping me into a group of sad people who don’t actually exist except to make you feel like a special member of an exclusive fringe culture.

The thing about all the questions, the doubt surrounding Bey’s genius is that I don’t remember anyone asking them of Michael Jackson when he full-released “Thriller” all over our anxious, awaiting faces. Did he write all of his own material? NAWP. He had a lot of help and collaborated with an incredible bevy of heavy-hitting players: Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton and Paul McCartney and John Branca and Toto (the band) and Van Halen and Vincent Price. Just as MJ surrounded himself with a dream team, Justin Timberlake is also no landlocked Bon Iver. They all get a crowd-surf boost. Nobody is a lonely island Edgar Allen Poe. So the fact that Bey worked with some people shouldn’t disqualify her.

Michael was a visionary, though, right? Isn’t that the difference? And Bey? Bey is just a face on a product. According to Rolling Stone’s review, yes! I did almost literally no digging to make a few comparison notes between the two reviews – the one for MJ in 1983 and the one for Bey written 30 years later. A side-by-side snapshot reveals incredibly disparate treatments of the works.

The RS Thriller review focuses almost exclusively on Jackson as an artist with complete autonomy and agency, citing to him credit for almost every nuance of the album – from the Duala incantations of “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” to the personal and painful story behind the lyrics of “Billie Jean.”

Bey’s review? After a short introductory paragraph wherein she is cast as a diva who does “anything the hell she wants to,” Rob Sheffield starts peppering it with names of Big Boy Rock Stars who literally had nothing to do with the creation of her album, like David Bowie, Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine. The very presence of those hyperlinked giants immediately overshadows Bey, relegating her to the background. In the next sentence, he name drops the boys who were involved with her record: Drake, Pharrell, Jay Z, Hype Williams. It seriously detracts from Beyoncé as a creative entity and force. Fuck that; it plainly robs her of it.

If we insist on purism in music performed by women because we don’t really trust them as auteurs, then let’s shift gears to Bey choreography. I’m sure people remember the oft-refrained line: “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did – only backwards and in high heels.” It’s a good thing to keep in mind as you witness the dance acrobatics performed in “Run the World (Girls).” You can’t ignore the incredible skill that Bey flaunts. Bitch did all that in gawdamned pumps IN THE MOTHERFUCKING SAND. I can’t even run in the sand. I can’t even run in the sand when I’m trying to imagine running in the sand IN MY MIND.

Is my case still weak and full of holes? How about prolificacy? You wanna know how much material this BEYotch actually creates? For her last album 4, she gave Columbia Records 72 songs to pick from. 72. If you’re bad at visualizing song quantities, you’re not alone. Imagine 72 squares. If counting isn’t your thing, do the multiplication. That would be nine squares eight times. Or eight squares nine times. Either way, whoa ho ho!

Her songs aren’t complex? Go cram a crazy straw all up in your ass so you can fart in your own face, is technically how complex they truly are. If you’re interested in the delicate mix engineering that went into this mind-blowingly high-concept art album, I suggest reading up on DJ Swivel.

You laugh that I groove to the deliciousness that is the Bey. Mmm-hmmm… Do you also laugh when I get down to R. Kelly or D’Angelo? Do you laugh at Boots? Oh, you don’t know who Boots is? LOL, OF COURSE, YOU DON’T. You’re too busy licking the liner notes of your hipster everymusic to see the forest for the trees. Tell me: when you lick those liner notes, do they lick you back? Because anyone who loves Bey knows: she licks ya back. It’s a fucking hidden-track bonus feature that non-fans don’t know about. You’re welcome.

Oh, you only like “real” music? Like metal and real rock-n-roll and actual hip-hop and scientifically proven funk and tested punk and time-honored ska and artists who are the Real Deal? Did a Berry Gordy clown fuck your mom or something? Did James Brown cockblock your egg salad sandwich at work? Did Quincy Jones shove his patents down into your silverware drawer and put ‘em on the spoons? Why bother being a snob anymore in today’s colorful climate? What’s the point.

Letting a masterpiece album go on by without so much as a nod all because you’re a close-minded sexist Oracle Pig. Oh, that’s right. I just called you sexist. Subtlety OUT. It’s time to take back jock culture and nerd cock culture, and stop letting that be the barometer by which we judge what goes in the canon and what gets brushed aside. Where my female geniuses at? Where– oh, interesting. Nobody really agrees on what constitutes genius when it comes to women. How reassuring that they won’t be continually overlooked and marginalized.

In summation, what does Bey have to do to earn your gawdamned attention? Nothing, Cunts. You pay attention. You pay attention, and you be glazed like ham when you see her lick her lips. Yoncé all up in your mouth like liquor (click your tongue as you hit the hard Ks and try not to spooge all over yourself).

Peace.

Are you mad about that particular spelling? How mad? Mmm… good… *touches self* TC mark

image – oouinouin
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Poetry that will change you

This is for the women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea. This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls. The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts. This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it. This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence. The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times. This — is for you.

“When Janne has a new poem written, I shut my life down to do nothing but read it, and then when I turn my life back on, everything is better.” — James Altucher

You’ve never read poetry like this before

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