Destiny Fulfilled, Relived: A reflection of sisterhood, 10 years strong

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November 15, 2004.

On June 24, 2004 (the one year anniversary of Beyoncé’s debut solo album, Dangerously In Love) Destiny’s Child announced that their return was imminent, sending fans into a frenzy. In September 2004, they would debut their comeback single and perform it on Pepsi’s “Play For a Billion” television show.

All summer, fans waited with bated breath for the trio’s return. Unlike other superstar groups, Destiny’s Child had done what none had done before. They kept their promise. In 2001, they announced plans to go solo and record their own, individual albums following their World Tour’s conclusion in 2002.  During the group’s hiatus, Michelle released two albums, Heart to Yours (2002) and Do You Know (2004), while Beyoncé and Kelly (2002’s Simply Deep) each released one. They remained supportive of each other’s solo efforts over the course of their 2 year hiatus, and with their sisterhood intact, moved forward with their promise: a comeback.

Fashion Rocks - Backstage

Fashion Rocks – September 8, 2004.  Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

The group made a surprise appearance together at the 2004 Fashion Rocks concert at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. That same night, they snatched the collective breath of their fans by unleashing their comeback single, “Lose My Breath.” Following the concert, their team distributed copies of the single to fans as they left the show.

At midnight of September 9, 2004 AOL Music officially premiered the single and it was immediately pumped to radio stations. Met with rave reviews, the song was a fierce and fitting comeback for the powerhouse trio. With the release of the single came the announcement of the album’s title and release date: Destiny Fulfilled would be released a little over two months later, on November 16, 2004.

From this point on, the promotion for their comeback was in full swing. The ladies were everywhere promoting “Lose My Breath.” The same day of its release, they appeared on the NFL Kickoff show to celebrate their comeback and debut the song via a live performance. Complete with a dramatic introduction and fierce choreography, Destiny’s Child made it known that they were back, with a vengeance. Just two days later, they continued to promote the song with the performance promised in June – on Pepsi’s “Play For a Billion.” The hype paid off, as “Lose My Breath” made its at #30 on the Hot 100 based on radio play alone – one of the highest debuts in the chart’s history for a song with no commercial single available.

In a move that is almost unheard of in today’s music climate, the music video for “Lose My Breath” was released about a month and a half following the song’s release, in late October. One of their best, it quickly became popular for its high-energy choreography and interesting concept. There were 3 incarnations of Destiny’s Child in the video: a sophisticated DC3, a street DC3 and a seeming amalgamation of both: a fierce, couture DC3. They competed with each other in a dance battle and the fierce, couture DC3 prevails perhaps introducing us to their new image (and, House of Deréon). Needless to say, its live performances and video helped the song’s popularity grow, and it eventually peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the few weeks prior to the album’s release, once “Lose My Breath” had peaked, Destiny’s Child dropped the album’s second single, “Soldier,” featuring Lil’ Wayne and T.I. (before they became superstars in their own right). “Soldier,” although more hip-hop orientated than “Lose My Breath,” fit right in with radio at the time and also became an instant smash. Eventually, the song also peaked at #3 on the Hot 100. At this point, the ladies seemed unstoppable.

However, the album’s release week was met with a challenge.  Some retailers received the album early and sold copies of it (61,000 in fact) during the weekend prior to its newly bumped November 15th release date (their label, Columbia, moved it up one day to avoid piracy).  Due to this error, the album prematurely debuted at #19 with 61,000 copies sold.  The following week, the album jumped up to #2, selling an additional 497,000 copies.  No doubt, this impressive total proved just how hotly anticipated the Destiny’s Child’s comeback album was.

The album was a return to R&B for the group. Not since their debut album had they made an album so purely R&B. Aside from its first two singles, “Lose My Breath” and “Soldier,” there were no obvious single choices. The album was by no means a commercial one, nevertheless, it was a deeply personal, quality album. The songs were inspired by their life experiences after spending hours talking, rather than recording, in the studio when they began the recording process for the album. With the exception of Kelly’s solo song, “Bad Habit,” all the songs were cowritten by Kelly, Michelle and Beyoncé, who acted as vocal producer for every group song, as well. Most significant, though, was that for the first time all three ladies had a lead verse on every song on the album (aside from “Bad Habit,” of course).

Production on the album was done by a team of talented producers, some of whom had worked with the ladies on both solo and group projects before, giving each of them a chance to bring their own, newly developed solo sounds to the group. Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, producer of 1999’s “Say My Name” and did tracks like “Lose My Breath” and “Cater 2 U.” Rockwilder, who produced the remix to the group’s smash hit “Bootylicious,” provided the tracks for “If” and “Free.” Rich Harrison, producer of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” and Kelly’s “Can’t Nobody” served the track for “Soldier.” Beyoncé also brought frequent Dangerously In Love collaborator Scott Storch (“Me Myself and I,” “Baby Boy” and “Naughty Girl”) to the group via “2 Step” and (solo song) “My Man,” bonus tracks for Walmart. Friend to Beyoncé and Kelly, Bryan Michael Cox produced Kelly’s “Bad Habit” alongside Beyoncé’s sister Solange Knowles. Meanwhile, Michelle brought her brother, Erron Williams, in to produce “Love,” as well as two other prior collaborators, Mario Winans, on “Through With Love” and PAJAM on Japanese bonus track “Why You Actin'”. Finally, producers like Dre. & Vidal (“T-Shirt”) and 9th Wonder (“Girl,” “Is She the Reason” and “Game Over”) were new to “the wonderful world of Destiny’s Child” (as Da Brat said on the “Survivor” remix).

However, perhaps one of the most notable things about Destiny Fulfilled is the fact that it tells a story – a story about a woman dealing with the ups and downs of a relationship. Beyoncé in particular harped on this fact in a number of interviews, noting how “the woman” begins fiercely with “Lose My Breath,” searching for her “Soldier” and then finding and “Cater[ing] 2” him.  However, things get rocky midway through the album and eventually “she” finds love again with the help of God, and her sisters.

Nine years later, “she” was revealed to be Kelly. With the release of 2013’s “Dirty Laundry,” it became quite clear that she was the main inspiration behind Destiny Fulfilled’s story (though, Michelle has admitted that songs like “Free” and “Through With Love” were inspired by her almost-marriage prior to the album’s creation).  Songs like “Girl” and Kelly’s solo track “Bad Habit” were not just a coincidence. They were taken from a very personal place.  Unbeknownst to fans then, the songs were Beyoncé and Michelle’s way of supporting their sister through a hard time.

Destiny’s Child’s bond has remained strong in the ten years since the release of their final album. Just this year, they reunited on Michelle’s song and video for “Say Yes”. Last year they had several reunions: a new song (“Nuclear”), an appearance during Beyoncé’s Super Bowl set, a collaboration on Kelly’s album (“You Changed”) and in a video on Beyoncé’s visual album (“Superpower”). If you missed it, be sure to check out our Destiny’s Child 2014 playlist. Of course, they remain supportive of each other’s personal lives as well. Just last week, Kelly gave birth to her son and of course her sisters sent words of love her way in support. This weekend, they’ll all have likely attended Solange’s second wedding (the first, ironically, was just before the release of Destiny Fulfilled – Solange was pregnant in the “Soldier” video). Then of course, there are the rumors that the trio will reunite for a tour next year being that 2015 marks 10 years since they closed the curtain on the Destiny Fulfilled tour.

Next week, we’ll explore the many connections that can be made between “Dirty Laundry” and other songs in Kelly’s catalogue. Later this week, we’ll also post an in-depth run through Destiny Fulfilled in short story form, with some special additions to the track listing.  Be on the look out for Destiny Fulfilled: The Complete Story right here on EST. 1997!

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