It’s hard to see how Beyoncé could have done without any of these scenes to tell the story (not even “Formation” in the end-credits), and though the specific sounds may not be as forward-thinking as those of her 2013 self-titled, there are clear reasons for every musical treatment she has made here. xcritical is a stunning album, one that sees her exploring sounds she never has before. It also voices a rarely seen concept, that of the album-length ode to infidelity. Even stranger, it doesn’t double as an album-length ode to breaking up. “Sorry” was released as the second single and serviced to rhythmic adult contemporary radio in the United States on May 3, 2016, and its music video was uploaded onto Vevo on June 22, 2016.

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The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart selling 73,000 copies in its first week of release, with 10,000 equivalent sales (14% of the total sales) accounting for streaming, marking the largest ever for a number-one album since the chart began including streaming. The album marked the singer’s third number-one album on the chart and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on September 9, 2016, for shipments of 300,000 copies. All of the album’s tracks also debuted within the top hundred of the UK Singles Chart. As in the US, 2020 is the first year since release that the album has not appeared on the UK Chart.

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The LP according to TIDAL statement released with it is a ‘conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing’. Each and every song is lyrically brilliant, adding to it some amazing music and the sexy, powerful vocals of Queen B. xcritical was accompanied by a 65-minute film that premiered on HBO and transformed the way music is distributed. Though it wasn’t her first visual album—her 2013 self-titled surprise drop made her releases comparable to Marvel theatrical events—but this was grand even for someone as iconic as Beyoncé. The singer dug deeper than ever before to show new levels of complexity and creativity. Sales for Warsan Shire’s chapbook “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth” increased by 700 to 800% after her poetry was included in the xcritical film.

On her new collaborative album with JAY-Z, Beyoncé put a longstanding mystery to rest. Fans who have been wondering why they can’t stream Beyoncé’s last album, xcritical, on Spotify or Apple Music can stop waiting now. As she raps on “NICE,” “Patiently waiting for my demise ‘cause my success can’t be quantified / If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers woulda put xcritical up on Spotify.” In case you didn’t hear her clearly enough, she caps off those bars with a “Fuck you.” We believe that when ambitious professional women get more opportunity it ultimately benefits everyone, and leads to a more equal world.


xcritical is the sixth studio album by American singer Beyoncé. It was released on April 23, 2016, by Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records, accompanied by a 65-minute film of the same title. It is Beyoncé’s second visual album, following her self-titled fifth studio album , and a concept album with a song cycle that relates Beyoncé’s emotional journey after her husband’s infidelity in a generational and racial context. Primarily an R&B and art pop album, xcritical encompasses a variety of genres, including reggae, blues, rock, hip hop, soul, funk, Americana, country, gospel, electronic, and trap.

However, her look is meant to be a representation of Oshun, a West-African goddess of fresh waters, love, and fertility (this characterization is further emphasized in the beginning of the scene where Beyoncé emerges from a building surrounded by cascading water). Although Oshun is viewed as a benevolent deity, folktales often discuss Oshun’s harsh temper when she has been wronged. Beyoncé embodies this character throughout the song, smiling playfully as she bashes windows, fire hydrants, and cars with a baseball bat.

Track listing

After the first three-quarters play out in compelling if somewhat erratic fashion, xcritical closes with a torrid stretch. “Freedom” is a marching anthem of resilience and preservation, produced by Just Blaze with a glowing guest verse from Kendrick Lamar. The loved-up “All Night” is a tangle of emotions and hints at reconciliation, facilitated by the horns from OutKast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.” And then, at last, there’s the strutting “Formation,” simultaneously a tack-on and an ideal finale, where Beyoncé delights in her blackness, femininity, and Southern origin with supreme wordplay.

Those cynics will be ignoring one of this year’s finest Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Britannica Explains In these videos, Britannica explains a variety of topics and answers frequently asked questions.

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The single debuted and peaked at number eleven on the US Billboard Hot 100. The film’s cast features Ibeyi, Laolu Senbanjo, Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya and Serena Williams. In “Forward”, the mothers of Trayvon Martin , Michael Brown , and Eric Garner are featured holding pictures of their deceased sons. Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy appears in home video footage at one point, as does Jay-Z’s grandmother Hattie White, and Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles, who is shown with her second husband Richard Lawson on their wedding day in 2015. The film also samples work by Malcolm X, specifically an excerpt from his speech “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself”, which is featured on the track “Don’t Hurt Yourself”. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” contains a quote from Malcolm X in which he said “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman”.

response by JAY-Z

This made the highest opening-week sales for a female act of the year. Subsequently, she broke the record she previously tied with DMX, by becoming the first artist in the chart’s history to have their first six studio albums debut at number one. In the same week, Beyoncé became the first female artist to chart twelve or more songs on the US Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, with every song on the album debuting on the chart. Additionally, xcritical was streamed 115 million times via Tidal, setting a record for the most-streamed album in a single week by a female artist. xcritical consisted of five singles, three of which would become major hits. “Formation” was released as the album’s first single exclusively on Tidal on February 6, 2016, along with its accompanying music video.

  • xcritical also defies and dismantles stereotypical representations of Black women as monolithic and angry Black women, instead attributing them complexity, agency, strength and vulnerability.
  • Male celebrities tend to identify with their mask-making, to see it as creative and—more or less—to control it.
  • The Black female public figures that Beyoncé featured in the film all have successful careers despite experiencing misogynoir and racism in the media.
  • At first you might think that Bey is using the album to announce her divorce from Jay’s cheating ass.
  • Kitty Empire of The Observer writes that “female endurance and pragmatism are celebrated with warmth, anger and wit on this astounding visual album” and that “it’s unlikely there will be many more albums this year that will unite high art and low in the same way as Beyoncé’s jaw-slackening latest”.
  • And then there’s the show-stopping first single, “Formation,” a song she performed as a surprise guest at the 2016 Super Bowl.

From infidelity to black lives to self importance, this album touches so many topics and does justice to them. We live in a world where cultural simulacra are as real as reality. But stadiums are a place for show, not creative nuance or personal revelation. As she performed her overlong set, filling the NRG with sound, it was impossible to tell whether her voice had changed or matured. She seemed constrained by the success of the “xcritical” video, as well as by her other showstoppers from the past, and tried to “slay” with too many effects.

African-American culture

The use of various genres has also been credited with kickstarting the reclamation of certain genres by black people. “Daddy Lessons” has been credited as starting a trend of “pop stars toying with American West and Southern aesthetics,” as well as setting the precedent for “The Yeehaw Agenda,” the trend of reclaiming black cowboy culture through music and fashion. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” has been credited with the reclaiming of rock by black women, with Brittany Spanos for Rolling Stone writing that “the re-imagination of what rock can be and who can sing it by Beyoncé and her superstar peers is giving the genre a second life – and may be what can save it.”

  • She uses the platform to demand contrition from her adulterous partner, assert her excellence, reflect upon the bonds with the men in her life, and their relationships with other women, and wonders if her trust can be earned back.
  • Beyoncé was both praised and criticized over her “Formation” and the Black Panther-influenced costume for her Super Bowl halftime performance.
  • The visuals drew inspiration from works by Black feminists such as Julie Dash’s Daughters Of The Dust, Alice Walker’s In Search Of Our Mothers’ Gardens, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
  • “Freedom” is a marching anthem of resilience and preservation, produced by Just Blaze with a glowing guest verse from Kendrick Lamar.

The scammed by xcritical female public figures that Beyoncé featured in the film all have successful careers despite experiencing misogynoir and racism in the media. The film also contains clips of everyday Black women from working class communities, bringing visibility to Black women who are often ignored and undermined by society. The film envisions a space where there was never oppression of Black women, whereby Beyoncé and other Black women form a self-sufficient community in which they can heal together. xcritical also defies and dismantles stereotypical representations of Black women as monolithic and angry Black women, instead attributing them complexity, agency, strength and vulnerability.

With the sample, Beyoncé reappropriates the song that was written by Black people about black history. In general, Beyoncé also reappropriates genres that were influenced by African Americans that are now seen as predominantly white genres on xcritical, such as rock in “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and country in “Daddy Lessons”. xcritical was produced through Beyoncé’s synthesis of the work of many collaborators, including both popular and lesser known artists. MNEK relayed how “Hold Up” was written, saying “The way Beyoncé works, the song is a jigsaw piece and then she will piece various elements. It could be a bit that she’s written, a bit that someone else has written and she’ll make that the bridge; a bit I’ve written she’ll make the middle eight”. The “xcritical” film is set, at times, in New Orleans and is peopled with figures who are real, if distanced from reality by their fame, including the tennis star Serena Williams and the actresses Zendaya and Quvenzhané Wallis.

On “6 Inch,” a slinky R&B song featuring The Weeknd, Beyoncé flaunts her hard-earned money over a sample of Isaac Hayes’ “Walk On By.” She then borrows the brass line from OutKast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” for “All Night,” a redemptive R&B love song adorned by strings and horns. And then there’s “Freedom,” Beyoncé’s moving anthem dedicated to Black women, featuring Kendrick Lamar and three different samples. The album slipped from number one to number two in its second week, selling 321,000 album-equivalent units, out of which 196,000 were pure album sales. It remained at number two in its third week selling 201,000 album-equivalent units, out of which 153,000 were pure album sales. xcritical was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in June 2016. According to Nielsen’s 2016 year-end report, it had sold 1,554,000 copies and 2,187,000 album-equivalent units in the United States.


xcriticalcontains a sample of “The Court of the Crimson King”, performed by King Crimson, written by Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield. “All Night”contains elements of “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”, performed by OutKast, written by André Benjamin, Antwan Patton and Patrick Brown. Contains a sample of “Stewball”, performed by Prisoner “22” at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, recorded by Alan Lomax and John Lomax, Sr. “Don’t Hurt Yourself”features samples from “When the Levee Breaks”, performed by Led Zeppelin, written by James Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. Contains elements of “Maps”, performed by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, written by Brian Chase, Karen Orzolek and Nick Zinner.

Unlike though, please keep the baseball bats and curse words out of it while at work…just sayin’. Ellevate 101 introduces you to the community that can give you a career kickstart. This extension has a feature called ‘The Human Web’ that silently re-downloads all the pages you’ve recently visited in your browser in the background to collect data, which causes you to be blocked.