There are only two things are certain in life: 1) death and 2) sex sells. By the bucket load apparently, if sales of Beyoncé’s self titled album are anything to go by. The album,which features 17 elaborately produced music videos in which Queen Bey writhers about in next to nothing, sold 828,773 copies in three days. The surprise album which was released on December 13th, deals with darker, more serious themes than her previous albums: bulimia, insecurities of motherhood and marriage, feminism and sex. Lots and lots of sex. The work has been declared “impeccably constructed and calibrated” by Variety, “steamy and sleek” by the New York Times and hailed as sonically addictive by me, who has been listening to it on repeat for almost a month.
While Beyoncé’s critically acclaimed album is still dominating my “Most Played List”, it’s content is hardly suitable for all occasions. I became nervous when my Gran came in the kitchen whilst I was cooking along to the lyrical filth that is ‘Blow’. My friend viewed the album on a public bus and feared people would think she was watching an elaborate and glamorous porno. Clearly, Beyoncé is not one for the understated innuendo. Her album reeks of seduction, skin and scandal. Even Miley Cyrus must have blushed a little listening to ‘Partition’ in which Beyonce purrs “Driver roll up the partition please, I don’t need you seeing ’yoncé on her knees.”
Ah, and so we come to Miley. Her of the hip shaking, clothes shunning fame. Her outfits are no less modest than what Bey dons in her videos for ‘Yonce’ and co. yet I cringe when I hear Miley cheer that we need to shake it ‘like we at a strip club’, despite proudly (and loudly) singing along with whatever Beyoncé says. To me, Beyoncé’s album and attitude encompasses a new brand of feminism for the millennial generation, unapologetically domestic and domineering in equal parts. We can please our man, but we please ourselves first Beyoncé growls. She is a “grown woman” and we love her for it.
Miley too, believes she is part of the new feminist movement within music. She calls herself “one of the biggest feminists in the world” yet her hyper-sexualisation seems to be directed at the media, not for herself. Her pleas that we should see her twerking and nipple tassels as empowering, somehow fall flat.
We believe in Beyoncé’s evolution because, as Beyoncé says herself, “the children who have grown up listening to me, have grown up…I feel like I have earned the right to be me and express any and every side of myself”. In the behind the scene’s footage of the Beyoncé’s album, Pharrell responds to Beyoncé’s ultra sexy crooning on ‘Rocket’, “Only a momma can talk like that. Only a wife can talk like that. That is your strength.”
Miley’s fans, on the other hand are still children. Miley only shed her Disney persona last year, her change seems driven by media and marketing and not from her own experience. Girls in their twenties cringe at Miley’s over sexualised persona. To us it seems too fake, too try hard. Miley is the over eager First Year trying to follow the trends and please the 6th Years girls, while Beyoncé is undoubtably our Head Girl. She is the trailblazer, and the game changer, mainly because we trust that she knows what she’s doing.
A wise women once said that talent always comes before tits, and Beyoncé never fails to follow that sage advice. For Miley, however, singing appears an afterthought, something that comes after publicity stunts and raunchy outfits. The Telegraph applauded Beyoncé as “one of the most technically gifted vocalists in pop, with gospel power, hip-hop flow and a huge range” yet Miley’s scaled back performance on the X Factor UK got slammed. Without the twerking, dwarfs or finger licking as distractions, fans found Miley’s voice…well, average. Bow down Miley, and let Queen Bey show you how it’s done.