There I was, cozy in bed late the other night, yet unable to sleep. HGTV was on for background noise (shut up, it’s soothing), Tindr refreshed on a loop, and then *ting* “BEYONCE HAS A NEW ALBUM ON ITUNES RIGHT NOW GO GOG OGOGOGOOGO,” went the text from a friend.
This year has been full pop star letdowns. Sure, Miley Cyrus put out some good stuff, but I’m ready for a wrecking ball to take out her perpetually protruding tongue. Britney Spears did something too, right? Oh yeah, she talked her way through a song again. Then there was Lady Gaga (which was more like a Lady Haha release). And of course Katy Perry embraced her animalistic side with “Roar”. It’s almost as if Beyoncé turned on the radio one day and said to Jay-Z, “I have to do something.”
But Beyoncé’s release was dramatically different. Her secretly dropping an album brought back that excitement we used to feel with new music. The thrill of the sudden ownership, the excitement of hearing each song, memorizing the words. There I was, a 31-year-old man, staying up until 5AM just to listen to a new album. That’s the power Beyoncé has on the music industry (and the world).
With each new Beyoncé album released, come new lessons. Not just an entertainer, Queen Bey is a teacher. She’s basically Oprah without all the “Best life” stuff, plus Jay-Z is way cooler than Stedman (sorry Stedster). Part of the fun of a new Beyoncé album is soaking up the life lessons she sprinkles with each booty shake. You’re going to have your own interpretations, as you should, but allow me to share with you the lessons I feel Queen Bey is laying down for her disciples.
Beyonce hurts too, damn it. So do pretty skinny women. Pretty skinny women that compete in pageants. Pageants hosted by Harvey Keitel. Pageants that appear to take place in a VFW hall. Oh, and then Queen Bey falls into water, which is clearly a metaphor for her tears. Tears that come from hurting, not Harvey Keitel. Personally though, the thing that hurt me most is that the video for the song didn’t feature more archival footage of Alaina Reed-Hall, that sassy friend of Mary Jenkins on 227. But maybe that’s just me?
QUEEN BEY LESSON #1: You’re beautiful the way you are.
The song is basically asking, “What does it all mean? Why do we have to work so hard?” The video is saying, “Have attitude and wear black face. Actually, don’t stop there, go full on black painted body.” Does it work? Duh! It’s Beyoncé! She could have ended this video in a Osama bin Laden costume and the gays would still yell, “Werk!” Plus it features some of the best Beyoncé ‘tude face ever!
QUEEN BEY LESSON #2: Don’t wear black face outside of music videos.
Once again proving that she’s just like us, the video for “Haunted” shows that she loves American Horror Story just as much as everybody else. But in typical Queen Bey fashion, she watched it and was like, “I could do better.” I bet she does this with everything, as she should. Well, actually don’t let her watch open heart surgery.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #3: Have unique, and sort of scary, friends.
“DRUNK IN LOVE”
More water! But no tears this time. This is like Beyoncé’s naughty urban Rihanna inspired beach moment. It also gives us a peek into her and Jay-Z’s sex life. Something tells me her saying “Surfboard” over and over has nothing do with catching a gnarly wave (wink wink).
QUEEN BEY LESSON #4: Go to the beach at night to protect yourself from UV rays.
I felt uncomfortable watching this video, and not just because I’m a gay man and totally don’t relate to the double entendres Queen Bey is making to oral sex. Mainly because she’s basically associating Skittles with vaginas, and I love Skittles. Well, at least I did. Bigger picture though, she’s really saying, “Embrace your joy…. down there.”
QUEEN BEY LESSON #5: Enjoy Skittles. Really, really enjoy Skittles.
I have no clue what Queen Bey is trying to tell us here. I get that the video features real people from the 4th Ward of Houston. And cars. And dogs. And Beyoncé in a white fur coat, pantless white onesie and a white cowboy hat? But maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m not supposed to get it. Maybe life is just that absurd!
QUEEN BEY LESSON #6: Wear white any time you goddamn want.
Don’t get all up in Queen Bey’s grill! Considering that she’s has been a professional performer since she was a child, it feels like she’s living out her “broke days” dreams through her videos. For most of us, when we talk about the old days, it’s usually about when we were struggling. Bey didn’t have that, not like we did. And I’m thrilled to be along for her blinged-out “broke” adventure.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #7: You don’t need money to be fabulous.
This album is giving us such an insight into Jay-Z and Bey’s sex life. From Skittles to Jay-Z’s surfboard, we already know way too much. But with “Partition,” now we know what gets them off: role play! Here Queen Bey plays a naughty dancer, and Jay-Z plays, well, Jay-Z.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #8: A happy marriage takes work and creativity. Strip for your partner.
Here she’s telling us, “Yes, I’m rich and famous and I can’t walk down the street, but I still get jealous.” Which, if you think about it, is just another example of her relating to her queendom (which is the world). She’s kind of the modern day Marie Antoinette, except she’s directing her own life and not Sofia Coppola.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #9: Cry, it will do ya some good. And she wants us all to eat cake.
So this is what John Mayer meant by “Your body is a wonderland?” This song really should be called “Rocket aka Beyoncé’s Orgasm.” And there’s more water. What is she trying to tell us? Water – Sex, Sex – Water? Water is life? Refreshing? That’s she’s the only black woman who doesn’t avoid getting her hair wet?
QUEEN BEY LESSON #10: Put on this song, have some “me” time, and find your G spot. Trust Bey!
Song arrangement means more on a Beyoncé album than most other artists. She went from role playing with her man (“Partition”), getting jealz (“Jealous”), then having an orgasm (“Rocket”), now in “Mine” she’s laying it down. Bitch, you’re mine… but I’m still vulnerable and wear masks. Oh yeah, and I know Drake.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #11: She knows Drake.
See now, she’s embracing life, having fun, and saying, “XO to the world.” The world feels it Bey, we really do.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #12: Just XO to the world, or else those weird new friends of Bey’s from “Haunted” will come for you.
She’s so angry here, and not in the, “I’m in charge of my life, single lady,” way. It’s more hard, very tough. Personally, I prefer my Bey tough but soft, like a fine beef jerky. But life isn’t always tough and soft, right?
QUEEN BEY LESSON #13: Sometimes ya gotta tell folks to “Bow down!”
This song and video is jam packed with meaning and guest stars. Frank Ocean, Kelly Rowland, Michelle – what was her last name from Destiny’s Child?, Pharrell! But leave it to Beyoncé to find a way to upstage all of them. How’d she do it? UNDERBOOB!!!
QUEEN BEY LESSON #14: Somebody please Google Michelle’s last name for Queen Bey. Thx!
I’m going to bet money that Queen Bey watched Beaches one night and, just like before, was like, “I could do that better.” It’s not “Wind Beneath My Wings,” but it packs a punch.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #15: We’re all going to die someday. Except for Beyoncé. So tell your friends to buy this album before they die.
I can see it now, Blue Ivy, 2033, on a stage in front of thousands of people, “And this was my debut. I love you Mommy.” At this moment, Beyoncé slowly walks on stage to sing a duet with Blue Ivy. The crowd (and world) go crazy.
QUEEN BEY LESSON #16: Blue Ivy is always going to be better than you.
This is how I like my Beyoncé! Part silly, part tough, part retrospective, always incredible. This song first appeared in her Pepsi campaign, and is a perfect conclusion to a perfect album. But are we surprised? NO! It’s Beyonce bitches! BOW DOWN!