Last week, T stopped by for a visit and in talking about her photography and my wish that I had some skill I could use to barter with her, I made my first admission that I had started a blog (this one!) back in March. I hadn't told anyone but PB beforehand, but somehow, it made sense to show T.
Anyhow, once I had opened up about my big secret (my life is so mysterious that this blog is my BIG secret!) I felt like I could also tell her about my love for this whole Beyoncé album. Through texts on Tuesday, I gave her my list of songs I thought she should start with, and that is what lead me to write my last entry on Tuesday night reviewing my favorite album of the year so far. I highly suggest you go back and read it before continuing this post.
So, after T read my review, she sent me a message yesterday through Facebook with the words: "She backs up what you said in your blog! " and the link to the following video:
Once I watched the clip, I was pretty happy. I KNEW that I was on to something and that the videos were supposed to remind us of a time when videos were a big deal! That all comes through, Beyoncé! Your mission? Accomplished!
I know you don't know me, but you just have to trust me that I didn't watch this before writing my review. All those conclusions were mine. I love when you can feel that you've discovered something all on your own, and then realize you're right on point with what the person was trying to say. PB has talked about this before, and it's something I haven't felt in a long time. I guess it's true that I don't listen to music the way I used to, and this has just reminded me that there's something to listening to an entire album and let it simmer. Point- PB!
I'll also say this... In my own way, I've been trying to show Gigi the fun that videos once were. We'll sit at home, and watch Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper and others because I want her to know how fun women could have without being all sexed out. Don't get me wrong, this visual album isn't one I'll be showing her anytime soon (apart from the excellent "XO", especially now that we've been to Coney Island), but I'll feel comfortable watching them with her when she's older, because as sexual as they are, they really are a grown woman singing about grown women things... There's enough stuff out there catered to kids, so I'm not mad at Beyoncé for this. There will be a time when I'll be ready to broach these topics with Gigi, and when I do, I know that these videos will feel different for her than the easier to digest pop stuff that a lot of women put out these days. Katy Perry has catchy songs, but I'm not that into showing Gigi her stuff either because I think that Katy comes across as those girls on the city bus who will dumb themselves down in front of boys because they don't want to seem smarter than them... Beyoncé, while totally sexualized, gives off a different message, I think, one that seems more along the lines of old-school Madonna.
Finally, I have to applaud her for one more skill. She is one master PR person. After watching the 3 minutes of her speaking about the videos, I went back and started watching the videos again. Insanely smart.
Please go watch the videos. I don't think you'll regret it, and I think one day, this will be her White Album. And you can say that you were into it from the get-go!
It's taken me awhile. I know that but it doesn't bother me. I'm not ashamed to admit I wasn't into it at first. In fact, the whole "surfboard" business had me eye-rollin' all over the place. Even Tara, a devoted Beyoncé lover, reported back in December that she wasn't into it much at all, and I supported this decision.
And then, I saw the video for "XO" and I was willing
to let it in a bit. About a dozen times in a row. But that was it- just that one. Until about a month ago.
Ten months into this maternity leave, something made me go check out more from that album and sweet Jesus, I'm having a hard time listening to anything else (other than PB's shows and 8tracks mixes, of course!) I think that part of the love comes from the work put into the videos. I'm a girl of the 80s, and loved my Video Hits with Samantha Taylor a whole lot and can't stand the fact that channels like MuchMusic/MTV seem more interested in reality shows than videos. Yes, there have been breakthrough clips that we love and yes, the ability to watch them on YouTube on demand is cool, but remember how big a deal a new Madonna/Michael Jackson video would be?
For those of you too young to remember, (or totally disinterested in pop culture back then), these monster stars would debut their videos on primetime TV! Amazing! We'd sit around as a family watching "Justify My Love"- totally awkward, yes, very... but we'd do it and there's something really great about that.
Anyway, I THINK that my love for this album stems largely from the videos. Beyoncé is very
easy to watch, of course, but she also knows how to surround her pretty face with interesting backdrops, or dance moves, or any number of other things she's got going on in these videos (Coney Island!). She's always beautiful, but she works hard too, and puts a lot into what she does. I never get the feeling that she's just going through the motions, and again, maybe my standards have dropped because it seems like so many undeserving people release songs and get popular without having talent (I'm looking at you, Paris Hilton. And Lindsay Lohan. And others.) but I don't ever hear people complaining that she doesn't give 100% at her shows, or appearances... And to be able to pull this all off covertly?! I kind of love her for this.
Another reason I think we need to appreciate this album is that it isn't always easy to take. There are some odd songs on there, and since its release, I know that better writers have written about this aspect (see: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18821-beyonce-beyonce/). I just think it's a pretty amazing departure for someone who has always been catchy, but has never released anything that made me start off hating it and then slowly grow to appreciate it ("Flawless").
Why am I writing about this album? It's not like it needs more downloads or press- I know these things, and yet here I am writing about it. I think that as I come to the end of this maternity
leave, I really get some of the stuff she's talking about, and feel that we'd be able to have a pretty great conversation about how hard it can be to be a mother and a wife and yourself all at the same
time. Again, millions of women have these same conversations, I'm not saying that Beyoncé and I are the only people who have gone through it, but I do think there's something comforting about hearing the line "I'm not feeling like myself since the baby" in a song I really like. Because I don't either, and it's not easy to say.
I've thought a lot about what I want this next year to be like while listening to this album. Yes, I know I will never look like her, or have access to her lavish life, but I don't need those things. Really! I can rock a vintage tee and some roller skates, and with PB by my side, I could feel like a me version of Yonce. And that would be incredible. It would be enough.
Yonce all on his mouth like liquor