Does Beyoncé Only Have 2 Songs? An In-depth Investigation

This was supposed to be the week where I led off by talking about the World Cup, one of the great unifying events in the global calendar. But then, Beyoncé and Jay Z went and released a double album and shook the very foundations of the world (they didn’t, but members of the Beyhive would have you believing that Bey and Jay are capable of doing so). Every unicorn and their dog is writing about the new album, but that isn’t what I want to do. This week, what I want to do is answer a question that has bothered me since I first heard Beyoncé 20 or so years ago: when you boil it down, does she only have 2 songs? Let me be more specific: can you boil her musical output to songs that can be summed up as “I need a man” and “I don’t need a man”? What follows is an exhaustive look through the musical back catalogue of Beyoncé. I will definitively answer what category the songs belong to and then give a judgement on whether Beyoncé only has two songs. We start with her first album, “Destiny’s Child”.
Name of album: Destiny’s Child
Song: Second Nature –
Key lyric – But I think I got the winnin’ hands
There’s something different about you babe…
Never a question always a pleasure to
Love you, love you, love you
Is this a song about needing a man? Yes.

Song: No, No, No Part 2
Key lyric – Cause boy I know you want me
Just as much as I want you
So come and get my love
It’s all here for you
Is this a song about needing a man? Yes.

Song: With Me Part 1
Key lyric – You wanna stick around
And not believe in what you see
And while you’re waiting, thinkin’ everything is gonna be ok
I gotta him right here with me, oh ho
Is this a song about needing a man? Actually yes, it is. Specifically, it is a song about needing someone else’s man.

Song: Tell Me
Key lyric – But a test of love I need from you
Honesty’s always seen through eyes
I wish you would believe
I’m giving you my all but it’s not pleasing (your distant heart)
If you respect my love you’ll hear my plea
Is this a song about needing a man? Again, yes. Specifically, it is about feeling insecure because a man is being inconstant, a theme that we will see in future albums.

Song: Bridge
Key lyric – Let me take you far away
Be sure to find your destiny
And you know without a doubt
That I would be your bridge out
Is this a song about needing a man? There was a bit of debate about this one. I say no, because the sentiment is that the woman will be there for the man when he needs her and that this shows it is a song that subtly suggests that she doesn’t need a man. The editor thinks that this is a song about needing a man, because the woman says she’s a bridge and the job of the bridge in the context of the song is to be used by the man. Without the man, the bridge (the woman) has no use. That said, it’s my blog, so this is not a song about needing a man (…then why even include what I said? -Ed)
No, No, No Part 1
See section on No, No, No Part 2

With Me Part 2
See section on With Me Part 1

Song: Show Me The Way
Key lyric – Can I be all you need (can I be all you need)
Can I be your everything (your everything)
Baby the time is now (the time is now)
If you just show me how (baby show me how)
Is this a song about needing a man? Yes.

Song: Killing Time
Key lyric – Killing time
Waiting on you (baby)
What should I do
I’ll be sitting here waiting
Killing time
Is this a song about needing a man? She can think of nothing to do whilst waiting for the man. Yes, this is a song about needing a man.

Song: Illusion
Key lyric – Boy, I love you
But I gotta let you go
Is this a song about needing a man? This is an underrated Destiny’s Child song, with the Isaac Hayes’s “Hung Up on My Baby” sample. This is definitively a song about not needing a man, especially one that is ‘here for just a moment then…gone’.

Song: Birthday
Key lyric – I’m sending out invitations
To let all your friends know that
It’s your birthday
But all that I really wanna do
Is wrap you up and get in the groove
And keep you all to myself ooh (it’s your birthday)
Is this a song about needing a man? At first glance this is a difficult one to answer. On the one hand, the woman seems altruistic, highlighting that the man doesn’t have to ‘do nothing’ and that ‘we gonna celebrate’. But look closer at the key lyrics. She’s sending out invites to let his friends know that it’s his birthday even though she wants him to herself. Now, as a unicorn that has been in at least one relationship, I know that this is a situation that is going to lead birthday boy into trouble. If he is seen to have too much fun with his friends, his girl is going to be upset. If he doesn’t pick up on the fact that all she wants to do is wrap him up, get in the groove and ‘keep [him] all to [herself]’ there is some drama coming for him. So, whilst this doesn’t seem like it, I would contend that this is definitely a song about needing a man (You just upset all women. It was nice knowing you – Ed).

Song: Sail On
Key lyric – But I’m giving you back your name
Guess I’ll be on my way
I won’t be back to stay
Is this song about needing a man?
Nope. She’s on her way. She’s giving the man back her name. She’s…hold on a second.
The other key lyric – I gave you my heart
And I tried to make you happy
So, is this song about needing a man?
Hmm. This is still a no. You see she wanted him and was rejected and now is moving on. It’s close, but, ultimately, this is not a song about needing a man.

Song: My Time Has Come
Key lyric – Now I’ve come much too far
And I know what’s in my heart
And I know what I feel
And this time I know it’s real
My time has come
Is this a song about needing a man?
No. This song is a tribute to Andretta Tillman, who was an early manager of Destiny’s Child. It is the only song on this album that does not talk about relationships.

Song: Know That
Key lyric – I never want it to end
I know that we’ll always be down and be together
That’s how I want it to be
Is this a song about needing a man – Yes.

Song: YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE
Key lyric – The song is called “YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE”. No need for too much analysis here.
Is this song about needing a man? What do you think?

In summary, the first Destiny’s Child album has 15 songs. 11 of them are about needing a man, 3 are about not needing a man and 1 is a tribute song not on the topic of romantic relationships. 14/15 is 93% which is close enough to 100% that it falls within an acceptable margin of error. After one album, we can definitively say that Beyoncé only has two songs. More to come on this very important story tomorrow.

 

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