A week ago today Beyoncé dropped “without warning” her self-titled “visual album.”
I’ve explained my distaste for music videos. Music does not need or benefit from a visual. Music should be an auditory experience, a personal feeling and understanding. When you incorporate – however loosely – a narrative, a visual, a video to that music it (more often than not) ceases being music and becomes something else. It becomes an accompaniment, a package, a product. I can’t even count the number of songs that have been ruined by music videos for me. For this reason (and the 100% ad-rate) I avoid Vevo at all costs.
That is to say, a “visual album” coming from someone like Beyoncé warrants laughter.
I’mma let you finish but, let’s just say it like it is: her career, creatively, has been wildly mediocre.
Lucrative – yes . Which, admittedly, plays a major factor in my resistance of her all-encompassing worship; when you break up my favourite girl group to hawk hair dye and Pepsi even my 12-year-old self knew you were a sell-out (but seriously, how could you do that to Kelly?).
Groundbreaking or boundary-pushing? Ha.
If the prospect of a visual album was released by Kanye, Gaga, or hell, even Miley (who clearly privileges the visual) – someone who seems like they have the gumption to push limits and the insanity only people living/breathing/eating/sleeping their art have – I might be mildly interested. Watching “The Queen” walk into a fan in various “edgy” outfits designed by her mom (is she still doing that?) and extreme makeup just isn’t enticing or creatively expansive for me.
Don’t get me wrong: impeccable marketing, astounding beauty, great voice, and a controversy-free career. My point is she’s a business more than an artist and I value creativity over power derived from wealth. If I’m crowning anyone they’ll have a few experiences, one or two missteps (or great stories, depending on how you want to look at it) on the way to self-expression and art, instead of a safe (or flat lined depending, once again, on your perspective) road to dough.
[I guess there was Goldmember…]
I respect her vocal talent, understand her appeal, and appreciate her efforts (however problematic) to bring feminist issues and female presence to the forefront of the music industry. Irreplaceable, Halo, Crazy In Love – I get it. I just don’t find it as exciting, or think it warrants the hype, that everyone is riding on.
Read: not worst artist of 2013. Most overrated.
Good timing with the virtual stocking stuffer though, B. You never disappoint on that bottom line.