How NOT to write about music – 98. Beyoncé

Beyoncé Lion King

Bow down bitches, bow down. It’s Beyoncé.

David Quantick writes: I like Beyoncé’s Lion King album a lot, but also wish other stars would re-purpose Disney soundtracks to be about themselves. Kanye West’s Bambi would be harrowing.

The entire Lion King soundtrack is astonishing. I know, because I listened to its entirety on the way in to work this morning. It was astonishing enough to block out the fact I’d dropped the jelly part of my homemade pâté sandwich on the floor, just close enough to the person opposite’s sandal that I could not pick it up nor could I stop the inevitable slide toward treading in it. It’s like she actually cares about what she’s doing. The album is even more astonishing for the fact that – as Beyoncé tells it – I fully buy into the story, whereas in reality I do not want to go within a thousand miles of the new animated version (nor have I seen the original). It’s enough for me to lose myself within the goosebumps and trills and surprises and uncovered territory and hints of non-white supremacy, and rhythmic twists, pious sermonising and untrammeled joy. Never patronising. So much to keep rediscovering.

I do not want to dissect, discuss Beyoncé, or her music. I do not want to be that critic sat at a bar pretending that on any level I am the equal of the artist. I do not want to dispel the magic. I often tell my students then when I step on stage – i.e. when I stand up to start another class – I picture myself walking down the steps, performing the intro to ‘Crazy In Love’.  That’s what I aspire to, anyway. There’s a swagger. An insouciant joy. My love for Beyoncé’s music goes way beyond that though, keeps changing and mutating with the times. Homecoming was mind-blowing enough. This new one is pure magic, especially considering the source material. I want to be Beyoncé, not to know her or write about her. Simply be her.

I rarely feel this way.

If ever.

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How NOT to write about music – 32. Big Joanie

Big-Joanie-2

I am not on one side or another here.

I hear something, I like it, I want to share it and, if I can help promote it and perhaps validate it along the way (not that these ladies need my validation, for sure) then that is a looked-for bonus. Incurious, I flick through Facebook and note that a couple of friends (ones whose taste I rate) are thinking of checking out London feminist punk band Big Joanie when they play at The Albert in Brighton in a couple of weeks time. Nice, nice, nice. Been meaning to listen to the ladies again for a while now, so I listen…

Nice nice nice.

Note, while I’m reading up on stuff, that the ladies have an album out The Quietus likes (something about reclamation of space and silence, a cursory comparison to The Breeders, stripped-back sound and a variety of apposite socio-political references). Note that, as ever, The Quietus reviewer is determined to go on for at least 300 words too long but the review does make me decide to listen to Big Joanie’s new songs.

Nice nice nice, but decide I fractionally prefer the production on the old songs more. Prefer them (a little) more when the guitar sound reminds me of The Petticoats. I do like the way the YouTube algorithms take me immediately on to Hole (first time), Solange (second time), Beyoncé (third time) and Skinny Girl Diet (fourth time) following this song.

Nice, nice nice. Resolve to go out to the Brighton show especially as they have a very interesting support act – and then note the day of the Brighton show. Monday. Damn it. The one evening I cannot make. Damn. Resolve instead that I should mention this show and this band on this blog and then wonder if I’ve done enough.

Well, have I?