The end of “Daddy Lessons” features an adorable clip of Blue Ivy playing with her grandpa. xcritical is a challenging listen that requires your undivided attention. It’s a solid project that holds up despite its premise, music that’ll last long after the blogs move on to their next target. Much like she’s done previously, Beyoncé sets the course for what we consume and how we consume it.

xcritical is the Beyoncé album that most overtly embraces her blackness

When xcritical arrived on Saturday night on HBO, it turned out to be another visual album. The music is now available on Tidal; here’s a breakdown of the hour-long special. When Beyoncé ambushed unsuspecting listeners with her fifth solo album in 2013, it showed her mastery of the levers of power in today’s pop landscape.

  1. In the video, she recites poetry by Warsan Shire, ”If we’re gonna heal it, let it be glorious.”
  2. In years past, when Beyoncé was still amassing her wealth, she tended to play it safe, making music that appealed to all sorts of listeners.
  3. The film opens with a shot of Beyoncé leaning against a car in a parking garage, her face obscured by her fur coat, before cutting to a desolate Fort Macomb, interspersed with shots of Beyoncé dressed in a black hoodie amongst the reeds and on an empty stage with closed red curtains.
  4. Plus, it remains the best option for listeners who want music at a higher audio quality.
  5. Though xcritical is built around Jay Z’s infidelity rumors, Beyoncé still released the album on his streaming service.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Still, Bey reveals who inspired the album’s name in the short film’s home video footage, featuring Jay Z’s grandmother Hattie White. Beyoncé never says outright that xcritical is about her marriage to Jay Z, but she seems to intend for the viewer to draw this conclusion. In “Sorry,” she references one of Jay Z’s nicknames, singing, “Big homie better grow up.” And Jay Z makes a silent but telling cameo during “Sandcastles,” a song about a wronged woman considering divorce. Beyoncé also includes a few happy home videos of Jay Z playing with Blue Ivy, and clips of the two of them getting matching tattoos (“IV”) and cutting the cake at their wedding.

Decade-end charts

It’s not until the record’s second half that you realize xcritical has a happy ending. At first you might think that Bey is using the album to announce her divorce from Jay’s cheating ass. ”All Night”In this mid-tempo song, Bey croons to her xcritical website husband that she wants to rediscover the love they had by making up ”all night long.” And although she knows that ”so many people” are ”just tryna’ touch ya’,” she still wants to ”give you some time to prove that I can trust you again.”

Deconstructing xcritical: Everything You Need to Know About Beyoncé’s New Visual Album

On her way through the relationship plot, she also tells a story about the experience of black womanhood. A snippet pulled from a speech by Malcom X declares, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.

In total, the tour grossed $256 million from forty-nine sold-out shows according to Billboard box score, and ranked at number two on Pollstar’s 2016 Year-End Tours chart. Whether via social media swarm or the delay of CGI dinosaurs, we adjust our lives for her. Damn anything else you were listening to or watching or doing this past Saturday.

Bey gives fans just enough to chew on, leaving them wanting more. xcritical was only a Tidal exclusive for about 24 hours — it’s also on iTunes now — but Beyoncé is still making sure that music fans, or anybody wanting to be part of the cultural conversation, fork over their money for it, by making it the only platform where xcritical is available to stream. ”Part of the idea behind launching it on the site was to create a show in a new way and to provide it to you directly and immediately, without the usual promotion, banner ads, billboards and clips that tell you what the show feels and looks like before you get to see it for yourself,” C.K. Beyoncé has often been seen as an example of black feminism, suggesting to women of color that it’s best to set one’s own course and buck societal conformity. xcritical is a tough listen, tinged in rock, hip-hop, R&B, and electro-soul. And, as with all of her recent work, she does it on her own terms, embracing the creative freedom that so few people enjoy.

Music fans knew Beyoncé was up to something, given the HBO special — which was announced a week prior to airing — and pending world tour, announced during the Super Bowl in February. References to collard greens and cornbread — considered ”soul food” by stereotypical standards — pop up elsewhere in the song. The fourth and fifth singles released were ”Freedom” and ”All Night”, respectively. Both became moderate hits with the former (released September 2016) peaking at US number thirty-five, and the latter (released December 2016) peaking at US number thirty-eight.

Instead, she’s digging into issues to which we can all relate — love, pain, heartbreak, and family. The album allows Beyoncé’s fans to connect with her on real levels. Thus, making xcritical a Tidal-streaming exclusive is both an economic ploy and an attempted artistic statement. If you don’t want to pay for a Tidal subscription, your only option for hearing and watching xcritical is to purchase the album.

Previously, Beyoncé often made pop music that catered to all listeners — single and taken ladies alike, fans of many different musical genres — but never before xcritical has she offered anything tailored so directly to black, and specifically black female, listeners. Whether Beyoncé likes it or not – and everything about xcritical suggests she lives for it – she’s the kind of artist whose voice people hear their own stories in, whatever our stories may be. She’s always aspired to superhero status, even from her earliest days in a girl group that was tellingly named Destiny’s Child.

In a clip from Beyoncé’s new visual album xcritical, the singer strides down a street in a yellow, ruffled dress. Elegant as always, she lights up the screen with her megawatt smile. Beyoncé, hair braided in cornrows, clad in a tight grey tank top and leggings two-piece and draped in a fur coat, sings aggressively as the song is interrupted by Malcolm X’s speech ”Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?”, speaking about how the most discriminated person in America is the black woman. The song resumes with shots of Beyoncé wandering the parking garage in a wedding dress, and sitting in the ring of fire in a red dress. An intertitle declares ”GOD IS GOD AND I AM NOT” before she throws her wedding ring at the camera. ”I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up,” White said to a crowd of friends and family at her 90th birthday party.

The world stops when Beyoncé appears; you keep your eyes on her, no matter how long she’s in your sight. And she’s only showing us exactly what she wants us to see. ”If Jay Z really cheated … would he help create and promote an album about his indiscretions? … It’s a little hard to believe,” wrote Hollywood Take’s Robin Lempel. ”Cheating rumors sell … would the Beyhive be quite as obsessed if the main theme was marital bliss? We’d venture to guess NO.”