Although a month has passed since Beyonce released her latest single, “Formation,” the ripple effect still appears to be at work. Her music video, which is unlisted on Youtube, has garnered over 32 million views, which further solidifies the truth behind the lyric “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.” Beyonce keeps unexpectedly dropping hits left and right, proving that she remains more than relevant and can lead the current pop culture conversation—all those who oppose her sentiments be damned.
An instantly catchy song with wonderful guitar plucking beats in the background, “Formation” has a downright Southern tang with powerful pop elements. The cinematography of the video is flawless, and perfectly combines choreography with a glimpse into everyday life in New Orleans, the majority of the footage of which was taken directly from director Abteen Bagheri and producer Chris Black’s short documentary “That B.E.A.T.” No Beyonce video would be complete without authentic dance moves, and this is even more emphasized in a hit song that calls African American women to come together and stand side by side, in formation.
As had been noticed on certain tracks in her most recent album, “Beyonce,” she has also inserted sound bites of people speaking in her song, such as Messy Mya, a Youtube personality who was murdered in 2010. In one of the sound bites he is the middle of saying “What happened at the New Orleans? Bitch, I’m back by popular demand.” In a 4 minute and 52 second song Beyonce managed to hit on so many important points: the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and pride in natural black hair. As is evidenced by the profoundness of her new song, nothing is off the table and everything is more than necessary to talk about.
Despite all the excellent qualities Beyonce’s song retains, no musical creation is without retractions. For one, her new hit is repetitive, though this is not a new phenomenon; unnecessary repetition has plagued the pop music industry for a long time, which is most likely because repetition increases a song’s catchiness. Even so, the repetition is exacerbated because of the shortness of the hook, when she literally says “Cause I slay (slay), I slay (hey), I slay,” over and over again. Then again, in the same way that “flawless” became embedded in pop culture and took off as its own motto, “slaying” has become a similar self-esteem boosting mantra. There have also been allegations that Beyonce unjustly stole footage from “That B.E.A.T.” though her spokesperson has combatted these claims.