Yesterday, we looked at one of the biggest unanswered questions of our time: does Beyoncé only have two songs, “I Need a Man” and “I don’t need a man”? Today, we look at Destiny’s Child second album, “The Writing’s on the Wall”. Now, I have two sisters and a mum, and this album holds a special place in their heart. I have also been followed on Instagram by someone called Beyhive club. What I’m saying is that I feel the pressure on this one. My life is on the line. However, like any intrepid investigative journalist, I will not be intimidated. On to the album.
Song: So Good
Key lyric – So good, so good, so good
I know you hate it, but I’m
So good, so good, so good
Is this a song about needing a man? No. This is my favourite Destiny’s Child song of all time. It is the spiritual goddaughter to Tupac’s “Picture Me Rolling”, a song that can be best summed up as a gentle f u to the haters. This song has no precedent from the first album.
Key lyric – Can you pay my automo-bills
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don’t think you do
So, you and me are through
Is this a song about needing a man? Hmm. It’s a song about not needing a broke man. You can infer that a man that’s solvent is what is needed. So this is a song about needing the right kind of man and therefore is about needing a man. As a side note, I love the idea of Jay Z hearing this song in 1998 and realising that if he had billionaire aspirations, he was in with a shot.
Key lyric – I’m just confessing ’bout the things I did
I might as well come clean
What you feel about that, baby?
Is this song about needing a man? Before we get to the answer, this is one of the coldest songs I’ve ever heard. It is the spiritual godmother to Usher’s “Confessions”. The casual way that she tells her man that she cheated on him with Mike is icy. also icy: the question “what you feel about that, baby?” I have some questions: was Mike her friend or his friend? Was Mike the friend that your partner has that you never trust, because you know that as soon as there is an argument, he will be trying to get some shoulder to cry on sex? Like “With Me”, this is a song about needing a man other than the one she has.
Song: Bug a Boo
Key lyric – It’s not hot that you be callin’ me
Stressin’ me pagin’ my beeper
You’re just non-stop
And it’s not hot
Is this a song about needing a man? This is a song that needs to be put in a time capsule. AOL and pagers? If you know about that life, you remember the 90s. This song, much like “Bills”, is a rejection of burdensome men.
Key lyric – Saying sexy boy, you’re so fly
I just might give you a try
I’ma write yo number in the palm of my hand
Oops, I forgot, I got a man
Is this a song about needing a man? In a somewhat troubling trend this song is about wanting a man that she is not with. I think that in the timeline of this woman’s life, this song was written before “Confessions”. It doesn’t take much for me to believe that she met a guy, we’ll call him Mike, that she was instantly attracted to, had sex with and then felt the need to write a song called “confessions”. That said, how attractive must a person be to make you forget that you have a partner?
Song: Now That She’s Gone
Key lyric – Now that she’s gone
You wanna come back
Is that a fact
You got it like that
You made me wait too long
Is this a song about needing a man? No
Song: Where’d You Go
Key lyric – Oh baby where’d you go
I need you back wit’ me
Is this a song about needing a man? Yes. This is probably the man that left after Mike arrived on the scene.
Song: If You Leave
Key lyric – If you leave her
I’ll leave him
We’ll pack our bags
Don’t say a word
And let’s go far away
Is this a song about needing a man? Just like “Temptation”, this is about needing someone else’s man. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that chronologically, this song should come after “She Can’t Love You” and is actually about the guy that left her after she slept with Mike.
Song: Jumpin’, Jumpin’
Key lyric – Though he say he got a girl
Yeah it’s true you got a man
But the party ain’t gon’ stop
So let’s make it hot, hot
Is this a song about needing a man? My problem with this song, in the context of the album, is that the woman has shown herself to have issues with impulse control. Specifically, being in a relationship has not helped control her impulse to be with other men. I worry about what kind of party she wants. This song is about needing a man.
Song: Say My Name
Key lyric – Say my name, say my name
When no one is around you
Say baby I love you
If you ain’t runnin’ game
Is this a song about needing a man? Young Bey, presumably now with Mike, wants him to say her name and profess his love as a way to prove he ain’t runnin’ game. Now why would she be insecure? Yes, this song is about needing a man.
Song: She Can’t Love You
Key lyric: And there’s no way, her love’s as good as mine
Oh baby baby baby yeah
There’s no reason for you to waste your time
Is this a song about needing a man? Yes. Interestingly, it seems she wants the man she left for Mike, now that he has found himself a new woman. Obviously that is something that never happens on this album, or in life: wanting something you can’t have (or something you had, but didn’t realise the value of until someone else did – Ed).
Can we be real for just a second? Up until this point, “The Writing’s on the Wall” is amazing. Production wise, it is peerless for the era and genre. That said, lyrically, it is average. I refuse to believe that young women only have relationships on their minds. And, if we’re going to be really real, it tails off from here. Sure, some people will Stan for “Get on the Bus” and “Sweet Sixteen”, but that is disrespectful to the greatness of what precedes them. Apart from the intro and “So Good”, every track we looked at on this album fits into the category of I need a man or I don’t need a man. I will pick up this topic again in the future, but for now I need to build a shelter – the Beyhive is coming and Keri Hilson told me they’re vicious.