Does Beyonce Write Her Own Songs?
Beyonce releases an album and the world stops, the queen B releases a visual album to go with it, and the whole world watches it on Tidal, HBO,… and probably everywhere soon. The blogosphere will stay Bey-centric for at least a week or two, and I yawn. Not for the reasons you may think, mostly because of all the gossips people write about Beyonce’s private life and supposed failing marriage.
Man, is Beyonce mad in this album! Mad, then sad, so sad, then determined, as she is looking for her conjugal life’s redemption. There’s a lot of pain, there are a lot of scenes with women, you barely see a man in this show, but this is all she is talking about. Her man, her cheating man, and everyone praises Beyonce to be this triumphant woman at the end of her uber-video:
‘Any wife who outs her husband on an album and in an hour-long video as a cheater, then makes him release that album on his streaming platform — exclusively — is having her cake and making him eat it, too,’ writes the NY Times.
‘Jay Z, the subject of so much spite and fury, enters the frame about two-thirds into the project,’ writes the New Yorker.
‘It’s more preoccupied with the state of her marriage than it the state of the world, overshadowed by her husband Jay Z’s alleged infidelity,’ writes the Guardian.
There are even tabloids which pretend to have identified the woman who is having an affair with Jay Z and at the center of the new album, it’s a fashion designer named Rachel Roy.
Are all these people insane? Since when songs are totally autobiographical? Since when art (and Beyonce takes this term very seriously) equals life? Plus there is an enormous problem with this theory…. when you look at the credits for Beyonce’s album – and Billboard has all of them – you realize how many people were involved in the making, about an army or two? What interests me is the list of authors credited per song, from 3 to 16! Just tell mr, how can collaborations so vast be so personal? Beyonce is always credited in each one of the songs, but does she even write a line? A word?
Last year, in a Reddit Ask Me Anything, songwriter and former 4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry had this to answer to the question: ‘Linda, how do you feel about Beyoncé changing one word on a song and getting writing credit. Does that bother you as a songwriter?’… ‘well hahaha um that’s not songwriting but some of these artists believe if it wasn’t for them your song would never get out there so they take a cut just because they are who they are. but everyone knows the real truth even Beyoncé. She is talented but in a completely different way,’ responded Perry.
Last year, Renee ‘Shi’ Wisdom, Drake’s ghostwriter had this to say to Noisey about the same subject
There’s a lot of ghostwriters out there, and there’s a lot of people who are not ghostwriters. You don’t see them, you don’t hear them, they don’t exist to the audience because, like I said, there’s this illusion that all these artists write their own stuff. There is a whole machine behind everybody. All these artists have several people keeping them there. Everybody has writers, everybody has a team of people to put it together. Some of these people do write some of their songs, but do you really believe that Nicki Minaj writes all of her songs, with no help? To be a songwriter on a song all you have to do is contribute one word. By the time the “R.I.P.” record I did with Drake was finished, six writers including myself and him touched that song. That wasn’t the plan, but that’s what happens: Somebody comes in and says, “instead of saying ‘boy’ say ‘you.’ Now they’re a writer on the song, but that’s access. For the longest time Beyoncé didn’t write any of her records. I personally still don’t believe she’s written any of her records.’
Let’s be real, Beyonce didn’t write any of these songs either, this is not her private life exposed to the masses, it’s a savant collage assembled by by many many pairs of skilled hands, it’s an artifice, a mise-en-scene feeding on the rumors, and delivering exactly what people want: some juicy gossips they can chew on. And it works very well.