Beyoncé Slays in New Single, “Formation”

Since the debut of her vigorous new single “Formation,” singer-songwriter Beyoncé has shown fans and haters alike that she’s got a whole lot more than hot sauce in her House of Dereon bag.  She has a political message – one she stands firmly behind.

After the Feb. 6 release of the prideful anthem, the Internet exploded with criticism and appraise for the 34-year-old performer’s forceful new sound and message.  From elite to self-proclaimed critics, everyone’s had something to say about the ultimate “‘feelin’ yourself jam,” with some feeling empowered by its racially charged lyrics and others offended by its exclusive message.

Regardless of any negative feedback Bey’s received, she really does “slay,” with billboard.com reporting that “Formation” lined up at a No. 2 debut on the Billboard and Twitter Top Tracks chart.  Since the listing is based off the week’s most shared or mentioned songs, all the chatter doesn’t seem to be doing Yoncé any harm—especially since this is her highest-ranking title on the chart, out of her astounding seven top 10 debuts.

Aside from the track, its accompanying video, featuring an all black cast of everyday people and backup dancers, unapologetically echoes the “Black Lives Matter” movement.  Opening with Queen Bey perched on a half-sunken police car, in between shots of black civilians and police jackets, the southern-centered video oozed with sentiments of intolerance for police brutality and suppression.

Both the track and its video support a successful concoction of cockiness and confidence, with the “Single Ladies” singer referring to herself as “a black Bill Gates in the making.”  It’s an undeniably aggressive attitude Beyoncé takes up for the new installment, but that might be the most engaging element of the anthem.  She’s blunt and, in some ways, it’s a nice deterrent from her past lulls and love ballads.

If we’re being honest, it’s likely Bey wanted her message to shine through as brightly as her Givenchy dress.  Intolerance is a topic as relevant as any other and, despite controversy over her potentially publicity-based motives, it’s undeniable that the Houston native has the perfect platform to call for political change.  Regardless of debate over intention, “Formation” revolves around an important message of self-love and acceptance—and it’s hard to hate on that.

Beyond the track itself, Beyoncé’s Feb. 7 Super Bowl 50 appearance solidified any pending indecision surrounding where listeners stood on the debate.  For some, Beyoncé’s black panther-esque look was too much for the “family event” and for others, it seemed nothing less than justified in light of recent, headline-making racial brutality.

While Beyoncé has yet to take to social media about all the uproar, the track itself suggests a few things.

First, the Grammy goddess’ sixth studio album is probably fast approaching and recent releases, such as Rihanna’s Anti and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, suggest it’ll be another Tidal takeover.  Especially since rap mogul and King Bey, Jay-Z, is the music streaming website’s head honcho.

While Beyoncé’s last, self-titled studio album seemed far removed from her “Crazy in Love” days, “Formation” alludes to another side of the Destiny’s Child Veteran we’ve yet to see.  Plus, after the announcement of her Formation World Tour, via a commercial proceeding her leather-clad appearance on the world’s most watched stage, an upcoming album seems completely plausible.

Ticket presales for the tour, which is planned to kick off in Miami, Florida and conclude in Brussels, Belgium, began only two days after the black-and-white, promotional commercial aired.

Nobody can say for sure whether or not the album’s following tracks will hold the same liberating messages as “Formation,” but it’s safe to say Beyoncé’s yearlong, music-making hiatus is officially over.

Liam McGurl

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