Since the release of “Nuclear” in January 2013, the ladies of Destiny’s Child have been reminding music fans that their sisterhood is as strong as ever, and that they still sound damn good together. In February 2013, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams famously reunited on one of the world’s biggest stages, the Super Bowl, when Kelly and Michelle popped out of the floor to join Beyoncé in her iconic Super Bowl set.
Since then, the ladies have been serving up reminder after reminder that they are the everlasting girl-group. Hell, the only group period from the 90s/early 2000s to still display genuine love for each other and have relevancy, both solo and together.
All signs pointed to 2013 being the year of Destiny’s Child, as Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl and teased her new album that eventually dropped at the tail end of the year via the now iconic surprise release of her visual album, BEYONCÉ. However, Kelly was the first to release an album in 2013, her fourth, Talk a Good Game, in June. The set featured yet another Destiny’s Child reunion, on the Harmony Samuels-produced-track, “You Changed” which Kelly opens by saying, “Ladies, y’all wanna do it again?”.
Beyoncé even included a small Destiny’s Child reunion on the visual album via the song and video for “Superpower.” Kelly and Michelle make an appearance at the end of the video, and harmonize with their sister on the final chorus. With the message of the song, it is quite apt and heartwarming, even, that Beyoncé chose to have Kelly and Michelle harmonize with her on this particular track.
Finally, Michelle intended to release her album Journey to Freedom last year as well, however it ended up being pushed way back to September 2014. However, in June 2014 she released the third single from the set, “Say Yes,” which — you guessed it — features her bandmates Beyoncé and Kelly. The song and video spread like wild fire across the internet, as fans and blogs sang the praises of yet another Destiny’s Child reunion. It has undoubtedly become Michelle’s most well known song to date, amassing nearly 11 million views on YouTube.
With all this collaborating and reuniting, it’s needless to say that 2013 and 2014 have been great to Destiny’s Child fans. Not only because they reunited, but the ladies also released their three strongest solo albums to date: Talk a Good Game, BEYONCÉ, and Journey to Freedom. This playlist joins together these three impressive sets to become one cohesive collection of songs. I’ve also tried my best to make it tell a story. Unfortunately, BEYONCÉ is not on Spotify, so you’ll have to piece it together for yourself. Here goes…
Michelle songs are colored orange, Beyoncé’s blue, Kelly’s red, and their collaborations purple.
The reunion begins with the vibrant and energetic “Say Yes,” which of course features all three ladies but is taken from Michelle’s Journey to Freedom. This Nigerian praise gone modern is the perfect opener to raise spirits and incite positive energy, unity and togetherness. Following “Say Yes” is Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” which also features African inspired instrumentation, and is similarly affirmative; “I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want!” – because, you see, as Michelle and crew just told us – “When Jesus say yes, nobody can say no!”
The sass continues on “Street Life” as Kelly sings a tale of rags to riches and social commentary, in this horn aided jam featuring Pusha T that, well, takes us to the streets. “***Flawless” is up next, specifically landing us in H-Town as Beyoncé opens the song commanding “bitches” to “bow down,” but reminding us that there is perfection in imperfection, asserting she and her fellow ladies wake up flawless – and who would disagree? Aided by Nigerian feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé inserts her thoughts on feminism. Meanwhile, on “Fall“, Michelle and friends (Lecrae and Tye Tribbett) remind us that God is to thank for the flawlessness on this twerkable praise song that musically is akin to “Drunk In Love.” However, the song also talks about how God is a support system during tough times.
On “Talk a Good Game,” Kelly takes us through one of those tough times as she questions her trust in her man, singing, “I really wanna believe you,” and that she doesn’t think she can take “another broken promise” – it is a song in seek of honesty. Next is “Jealous,” one of the most honest cuts from BEYONCÉ, in which she admits to her jealous feelings and ultimately assures her man that “if you’re keeping your promise, I’m keeping mine.” However, trust takes a turn for the worst on “#1” as Kelly realizes that her man is no longer is treating her like his #1, and in turn she “won’t be loving” him. In times of hardship, people frequently turn to God for help and guidance, and Michelle encapsulates that feeling with the next song, “Need Your Help,” as she details a time when she looked to God for direction when she was “standing at a crossroads.”
God isn’t the only source of help and comfort, though – friends can help, too. That’s why Kelly opens “You Changed” by asking Beyoncé and Michelle, “Ladies, y’all wanna do it again?” – and of course, they do. On “You Changed,” quite simply, they are addressing a man who has changed and as a result has been given the boot, evident by the end of the song, when Kelly says: “Boy I changed my mind, I don’t want you, not no more… sorry!”
She reaffirms this on “Gone,” by celebrating the fact that he’s gone in yet another sassy uptempo, this time featuring a guest verse from Wiz Khalifa and a sample from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” though more likely inspired by Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone.” Following “Gone,” is the poignant “Free” on which Michelle sings the praises of liberation, and even references a “he” who has wronged her making for an excellent connection to the songs that preceded it.
On “Free,” Michelle sings about the liberating stories of “three different women” (from The Bible) however, here we’ll hear from the three ladies of Destiny’s Child. First, is Beyoncé with “Pretty Hurts.” While not wholly autobiographical, the song talks of America’s obsession with being “pretty” and what girls do to live up to this unfair standard. No doubt Beyoncé too has felt this pressure; not only as a superstar, but as a child who competed in beauty pageants, as well. However, “Pretty Hurts” ends with the question, “Are you happy with yourself?” to which Beyoncé is able to answer, “yes.”
Michelle once again finds herself dealing with a similar struggle on “Believe In Me.” Here, she sings of her struggle to overcome her own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. The song shifts from being introspective and hopeful, to positive and hope-filled. By the end of the song, the lyrics change from “I used to believe in me back then,” to “Now I believe in me again.”
It’s interesting that all three ladies have faced similar struggles, however, I suppose we all have our personal battle – no matter the magnitude. On “Dirty Laundry,” though, Kelly’s seems most heavy. You’ve probably heard of the song before, but on it Kelly sings about an emotionally and physically abusive relationship that adversely affected her self-esteem, her relationship with Beyoncé, and her overall happiness. While somber, the song is her way of letting go and letting us know that she is now past that, and has indeed healed.
On “If We Had Your Eyes,” Michelle sings in wonderment – what if we had God’s eyes, how would our outlooks change? Fittingly, perhaps had they known the outcome of their previously sung hardships, they would have seen things different in the moment. However, the message of the song is faith – that it’s their faith in God that got them through these moments.
With “Ghost/Haunted,” Beyoncé questions existing and what it all means; she expresses disappointment in complacency and what is considered to be “the norm” in the music industry, the world in general, and even relationships. Ultimately, she shrugs off the idea of perfection as the song shifts to its “Haunted” half. An ambiguous and curious song, “Haunted” details the idea of being connected to another person on a very intimate and almost supernatural-seeming level where she can sense his every emotion.
Next, Kelly is feeling contemplative with “Down on Love” as she questions the state of her relationship, because “lately [she’s] been down on love.” It is an honest expression of vulnerability. Michelle follows with “Everything,” a song about trusting God’s love to heal all and be “everything [she] needs.” The next song finds Beyoncé expressing her vulnerabilities once more, similar to Kelly’s on “Down,” however coming to the realization that she’s “taking this a little too far” and despite her doubts, she reclaims him on “Mine.” Thus, the sensual and liberating lovemaking ensues…
First, Kelly sets the mood with a little “Red Wine,” a romantic track about finding true love with the perfect beat to, err, knock to. She sings, “love brought us together,” and that bond is deemed “Nuclear” on yet another DC3 reunion, a steaming-ly metaphorical song about sensual chemistry, “on a quantum level.” The “atomic love exchange” continues on Kelly’s 90’s throwback baby-making ballad, “Put Your Name On It” that sounds like it was pulled off a 90’s Jodeci album.
The trend doesn’t stop there, as we quickly learn the identity of “It” on “Rocket,” as Beyoncé opens the song singing, “Let me sit this ass… on ya.” The soulful and sensual romp sprawls over 6 glorious minutes of cathartic and rawly sexual vocal solos and harmonies, leading to quite the climatic finish. And, the entendré shows no signs of stopping with Kelly’s “Stand In Front of Me” – I am still trying to discern whether or not she means what I think she means here. I’ll let the next song answer that riddle, though.
“Blow” is an unabashed ode to the pleasures of oral sex, carefully disguised as a roller rink ready disco jam. However, Beyoncé’s Skittle and Cherry references are fooling no one… though, I don’t think she tried very hard. However, Kelly was much less subtle on the next track, “Kisses Down Low.” It seems that the ladies of Destiny have a certain affinity for low blows, and I am not talking shade, dahhhling.
And, it seems, the taste of “Yoncé” lingers on the mouth and that she’s not too shy to return the, err, favor on “Partition.” However, I’ve written plenty about that song here. While Beyoncé just wants to be the “kind of girl [he] likes,” Kelly is not too shy to announce herself to be a “Freak” on the next track. “Everybody’s somebody’s freak,” she says. Beyoncé certainly supported her argument on “Partition,” and “No Angel” serves as further supporting evidence, but reminding that “you’re no angel either, baby.” I suppose no one is safe around these temptresses…
“Sky Walker” is not pulled from the Star Wars soundtrack, however, it definitely falls on the darkest side of naughty. Kelly has no qualms about letting her man know that she’s his “main girl that’ll fuck ya like a side chick.” Not to be outdone, Beyoncé stumbles in, “Drunk In Love” and insatiable, riding surfboards and drinking watermelon, no Californication; pure fornication …with her husband by her side.
However, we must be reminded that all of these physical expressions of love come from a very pure place, and Kelly does that well with “This Is Love.” Once the coast is clear and all the impurities have settled, Michelle reenters the playlist with “Beautiful,” her self-described love song to Jesus. Meanwhile, Beyoncé adds to the purity with perhaps her cutest song to date, “Blue,” dedicated to and featuring her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.
Kelly brings it full circle with “Love Me ‘Til I Die,” a romantic and heartfelt ballad promising forever. Michelle returns to celebrate all this happiness with “Just Like You,” a lively and jovial bop that makes you wanna jam in a convertible, top down, or do a two step in your backyard.
“Superpower” is Destiny’s Child’s final united moment on this playlist, and rightfully so. Lyrically, it is symbolic for the trio who has survived through a whole lot of adversity, together and apart. On “Feet to the Fire,” Kelly testifies to that alongside Pharrell Williams, while Michelle gives the idea of “Fire” a more positive spin on yet another twerk-worthy Gospel track.
“Your love is bright as ever,” sings Beyoncé on “XO” – her message here is simple: through it all, love prevails. Applicable to any circumstance, “XO” is a celebration of love. On “Yes,” Michelle celebrates God’s love with this EDM inspired uptempo that’ll make you say “YAS!”
However, amidst the celebrations of love, sometimes one reminisces of love lost. “I Remember” serves this need for nostalgia, as Kelly warmly recounts a lost love an EDM inspired ballad that sounds as though it could’ve been taken from her David Guetta days. Beyoncé remembers a different kind of loss of a different kind of love; on “Heaven,” she sings about the loss of a beloved friend, ending the song with a prayer. The playlist comes to a hopeful end as Michelle takes us home with “In the Morning,” reminding us, (as she once did on “Survivor”) that “after all the darkness and sadness still comes happiness” and, “in the morning, you’ll see that everything’s just fine.” What better way to end a collection of songs than by celebrating new beginnings?
After all, rumor has it that 2015 may hold some new beginnings for Destiny’s Child. However, that’s yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, Kelly’s due to give birth any second, Michelle kicks off a new reality series (Fix My Choir on Oxygen) this week, and Beyoncé is rumored to be rereleasing BEYONCÉ. So, for now, you’ll have to make this 45 song playlist for yourself to quench your thirst for DC3!
1. Say Yes
2. Grown Woman
3. Street Life
6. Talk a Good Game
9. Need Your Help
10. You Changed
13. Pretty Hurts
14. Believe in Me
15. Dirty Laundry
16. If We Had Your Eyes
18. Down on Love
21. Red Wine
23. Put Your Name On It
25. Stand In Front of Me
27. Kisses Down Low
30. No Angel
31. Sky Walker
32. Drunk In Love
33. This is Love
36. Love Me ‘Til I Die
37. Just Like You
39. Feet to the Fire
43. I Remember
45. In the Morning