1001 Songs Challenge #996: Formation (2016)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Beyoncé – Formation (2016)
Formation (song) – Wikipedia
” Formation” is a song recorded by American singer Beyoncé for her sixth studio album (2016). It was written by Beyoncé, Mike WiLL Made-It, Swae Lee, and Pluss, and produced by Mike Will and Beyoncé. It served as the album’s lead single, surprise-released on February 6, 2016 through Parkwood Entertainment.
We’re staying in the US today, dear reader, but leaving Georgia to make our way to Texas. It is a second appearance on our list from Beyoncé Knowles who last featured in 2003 with the breakthrough single, Crazy in Love. 13 years on we join Beyoncé with the release of her seventh album, Lemonade, and in the run up to the record appearing there came the first single entitled Formation.
The gestation of Lemonade sounded difficult and painful for Beyoncé with her husband, Jay-Z, having been unfaithful to her while the social and political climate at the time continued to be of racism in America and the often brutal murders of black Americans, with deaths at the hands of police officers making the headlines. Formation is a song of empowerment for black women with Beyoncé proudly tracing her roots in Alabama and Louisiana, while taking her critics to the cleaners for questioning the validity of her success as well as that of many other women in the music industry. Here we have a woman who is angry for many reasons and she is hitting back hard.
Formation demonstrates a change of direction and growing maturity for Beyoncé’s music. She addresses a subject that needs to be talked about. Racism and sexism continue to be rife across the globe and the more that light is shed on this the more we can talk about it and look to end it as one of society’s ills. Both Formation and Lemonade were critically acclaimed upon release with many citing the album as Beyoncé’s best work to date. Fans await a new album but Beyoncé remains busy in a range of areas such as movies and fashion.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)
Radiohead – Paranoid Android (1997)