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