Today is a day for the history books, as Queen Bey turns 40!
There’s no denying that Beyoncé has made an incredible mark on, not just the music industry, throughout her career, but fashion, film and pop culture as well.
She sets the bar for dedication to her craft, work ethic and creativity, while remaining a genuinely humble, socially conscious and gracious human being. She’s not only the embodiment of a powerhouse, but she’s also been a fantastic role model for me and countless others over the years.
My fan girling of Beyoncé developed back when Destiny’s Child first emerged in the charts. But solidified when my Mam passed away in 2001 when I was 13, and I found solace and strength in the Destiny’s Child album Survivor. That album saved my life, I can say without any doubt, and Beyoncé felt more like the big sister I never had. Since then, as I’ve grown into my 30’s, Beyoncé’s music has always been there for me through ups and downs. It’s been a joy to watch her grow as an artist and as a person.
And as today marks her 40th birthday, I’m ranking my all time top 40 Beyoncé songs (including collabs and Destiny’s Child) to celebrate:
39. Savage Remix (with Megan Thee Stallion)
38. LoveHappy (with Jay-Z)
37. Lose My Breath (Destiny’s Child)
34. Me, Myself and I
33. Mine (ft. Drake)
32. Standing on the Sun
31. Telephone (with Lady Gaga)
30. Grown Woman
28. Sexy Daddy (Destiny’s Child)
27. No, No, No pt.2 – (Destiny’s Child ft. Wycliffe Jean)
26. Single Ladies
25. I Miss You
22. Why Don’t You Love Me
21. 6 Inch
20. Superpower (ft. Frank Ocean)
17. Run the World (Girls)
15. All Night
14. Love on Top
12. Bills, Bills, Bills (Destiny’s Child)
10. Daddy Lessons
9. Apeshit (with Jay-Z)
8. Sorry (original demo)
7. Bootylicious (Destiny’s Child)
6. Schooling Life
4. Flawless (ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
3. Say my Name (Destiny’s Child)
2. Crazy in Love (ft. Jay-Z)
(I do not any of the images used in this blog post)
If, like me, you have been aware of the Free Britney campaign for some time, and were on the edge of your seat while watching Framing Britney Spears when it was released back in February, you may well be jumping for joy today.
Last night, Britney Spears finally spoke out publicly about her conservatorship. And praise be, she eventually got the opportunity to speak her truth. In short, she annihilated her Dad and the team that have been forcing and controlling her every action for the last 13 years, under the conservatorship.
Having been under speculation for a few years, Britney confirmed her fans worst fears and theories that she was being abused and forced into things such as work, therapy, and even birth control, against her will.
I don’t want to repeat the things she said because, to be honest, they’re heartbreaking and horrifying. But you will be able to find numerous recordings online elsewhere by now.
I guess my point here is just to say, what so many of her fans have been campaigning for, #FreeBritney. Let her have her life back.
Madonna is undoubtably one of the biggest powerhouses in the music industry, and has been since she released her debut single back in 1982. Since then she has continuously reinvented herself, experimented in style and pumped out a collection of incredible studio albums. Her insatiable determination to dominate popular music has seen her become one of the worlds biggest icons of pop history, fashion, Hollywood and radio stations.
August 16th saw Madonna celebrate her 62nd birthday, so it only feels right to take a walk down memory lane and bask in the glory of some of her hits. So here are my top 10 Madonna singles;
10. Ghosttown- Rebel Heart
In my opinion, Ghosttown didn’t get the attention it deserved upon its release in 2015. It’s certainly one of Madonna’s less commercially renowned singles, but this doesn’t reflect on the quality of the song. The production and vocal delivery behind the track are marvellous and the music itself sounds like a modern and well crafted ballad. Demonstrably coming from a more technically matured Madonna since her Like A Virgin days. It’s cinematic music video fits perfectly with the track and shows a dystopian Madonna surviving through a post apocalyptic world and eventually dancing through the wreckage in a stunning dance sequence. An underrated gem.
9. Express Yourself – Like A Prayer
This upbeat song comes from Madonna’s Like A Prayer album and encouraged women everywhere to never settle for second best. It was also the opening song to her famous Blond Ambition tour, as she appeared on stage shouting “Do you believe in love?” to the audience, while donning her notorious ‘cone bra’ corset. The single is a deep funk and pop creation and it’s lyrics celebrate female empowerment. It’s thought to have inspired many of today’s female music artists with its feminist message.
8. Music – Music
If I think back to the year 2000, this song perfectly sums up my pre-teen years. Getting home from school, the video to this song was on TV and turning on the radio meant listening to Music on repeat. It was also the only CD single I wanted to buy in HMV to go in my discman. Madonna had reinvented her image once again to release this dance record and it immediately became one of the sounds of the early noughties. The video of course featured (a then pregnant) Madonna living it up heading to clubs in a gold limousine, driven by Ali G, while dressed in a white fur coat and a cowboy hat. As you do.
7. Material Girl – Like A Virgin
Material Girl’s video saw Madonna strutting her stuff in a Marilyn Monroe influenced role. Draped in diamonds and a fancy pink dress, she could have any man she wanted – and his money. Material Girl was a stamp of power in Madonna’s career and was one of the songs that established her as the icon she is today. The electronic sounding vocals and synth arrangement of the track still give it a futuristic feel, even though it was released over 35 years ago. The song is a pinnacle of pop music and continues to have a strong influence on the genre today.
6. Like A Prayer – Like A Prayer
“When you call my name it’s like a little prayer”. Madonna certainly had us down on our knees as she took us there. Like A Prayer is one of M’s best known songs and received critical acclaim across the globe after its release in 1989. Unlike some of her other releases, this single speaks of her relationship with God as she praises him as, well, Godly. Of course, the song could have other meanings depending on how you listen to it, but it’s rooted in religion. The video for the song caused deep controversy as it featured Madonna steamily kissing a black saint in church and the burning of some Ku Klux Klan-esque crucifixes. All heavy stuff that lead to the Vatican having a big fall out with our Madge.
5. Frozen – Ray of Light
Frozen is in my top 10 Madonna singles because it’s, for want of a better word, a bit weird. It doesn’t sound like anything else and seems like it should have been on the soundtrack to some sort of Sci-Fi film, even though it never was. It makes me think of Madonna as some kind of ice powered super villain, and to be honest I think she’d nail that role! It’s haunting and creepy and the closest thing I can think to compare it to would be ‘Stay’ by Shakespeare’s Sister. It’s peak Madonna giving us a different, spooky, reinvention of herself. The ballad was her first single to debut at number 1 in the UK charts and it’s video features a gothic style Madonna using a black veil to mimic contortionism and shape shifting into a flock of crows. Whew.
4. Miles Away – Hard Candy
Though Miles Away is possibly one of Madonna’s lesser known single releases, at least outside of her dedicated fandom, it’s one of my favourites. It comes from her Hard Candy album and was possibly a bit overshadowed by the highly successful collaboration with Justin Timberlake on their single 4 Minutes, which also features on the same album. Miles Away is much softer and easy to listen to. It’s catchy chorus gives a dreamy vibe and it’s acoustic/electro backing lets it linger gorgeously in my mind for the rest of the day after listening to it. The song is apparently autobiographical and talks about long distance relationships.
3. Secret – Bedtime Stories
Secret is Madonna’s lead 1994 single from her Bedtime Stories album. It was a step away from her more dance influenced early pop tracks and combined sultry melodic vocals with mid tempo accents. It had more of an R&B persuasion then her previous work and gave yet another side to Madonna’s ongoing discography. The chilled out, yet melancholic, song offers a gentler and slightly more vulnerable side to the queen of pop.
2. Papa Don’t Preach – True Blue
The strong opening chords of Papa Don’t Preach and the eclectic mix of acoustic, string and electric instrumentals throughout, have given this moderate tempo single a fresh and original sound since it’s release in 1986. The track and it’s innovative lyrics offer something that I’ve certainly never heard in another pop song. It focusses on a father daughter relationship and tells the story of the daughter finding out that she has become pregnant at a young age, asking her Papa for love and support. “Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep. Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep”. Madonna also famously dedicated this song to Pope John Paul II, after he urged Italian fans to boycott her concerts.
1. Vogue – I’m Breathless
I’ve chosen Vogue as my number one Madonna song because, quite simply, it’s iconic. When you think of Madonna you think of the Vogue dance moves that still storm dance floors and influence modern dance today, as well as the unmistakable “Come on, vogue!” chorus line. Both the choreography and the song were influenced by the Harlem ballroom scene, and it’s said that Madonna wanted to highlight and celebrate this phenomenon, born from the African American and Latino LGBTQ drag community. It was the best selling single of 1990 and has proved timeless in the realm of pop music. The stylish black and music video is one of the most recognisable music videos since MTV launched in the 80s and continues to provide a source of power and inspiration for many within the LGBTQ community today.
*Madonna’s studio albums are available across streaming services now. Please note that I do not own the images used in this article.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than pop queens coming together to release an unarguable bop. So a few weeks ago when Lady Gaga first revealed the song list for her sixth studio album, Chromatica, myself and millions of other pop loving fans screeched with joy as we realised that Gaga was collaborating in a song with none other than Ariana Grande.
The song, titled Rain on Me, was released yesterday, the 22nd May. Which, of course, was also the third anniversary of the tragic Manchester Arena bombing, as one of Ariana Grande’s concerts ended. This didn’t escape me, as I was inside Manchester Arena when the bombing occurred, and it is still something that I, and many others that were at Ariana’s concert that night, still deal with today. The anniversary is a strange and sad day, and it seemed particularly poignant this year as the UK is still in lockdown, and learning to cope with a new way of life. So, I was particularly eager to hear the song, and I knew this wasn’t something that Ariana Grande wouldn’t take lightly.
I played the song on Tidal yesterday as soon as I woke up, and was really relieved by what I heard. For Gaga, the song very much takes me back to her Just Dance days, enjoying pop music for what it is and her debut elaborate fashion and makeup that first introduced us to her. It was also really nice to see Lady Gaga just being Gaga.
She hasn’t hidden her struggle with a medical condition called Fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain, over the last few years. She also spoke to Zane Lowe in a recent interview and said “… this song ‘Rain On Me,’ the lyrics that I wrote right here in this studio, ‘I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive. Rain on me.’ This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive. Rain on me. Okay, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers”. It’s safe to say that Lady G has had her fair share of struggles that she’s been dealing with. So, it’s cathartic to see her doing what she does best and killing it.
As for Ariana, it felt a little bit more personal for me as I feel like I also share a little bit of my own trauma with her after the Manchester attack. Since then, Ariana has also had to deal with a number of personal upheavals, including the tragic passing of her late partner, Mac Miller. She’s been very open in her struggles with anxiety and her journey with mental health and healing since what happened in Manchester. So, to me, Rain on Me very much reminded me of Ari’s single No Tears Left to Cry, which was the first single she released after the attack and was notably upbeat and inspiring, rather than sad. Ariana has monumentally used music as healing tool for both herself and her fans. This was shown when she organised the One Love Manchester concert to raise money for victims and bring the people of Manchester together, through her whole Sweetener album, and then again on her following album, thank U, next.
Ariana wrote on her Instagram page of her collaboration with Lady Gaga; “…i met a woman who knew pain the way i did… who cried the same way i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me. she then held my hand and invited me into the beautiful world of chromatica and together, we got to express how beautiful and healing it feels to mothafuckinnnn cry ! I hope this makes you all feel as uplifted as it does for us both”.
Rain on Me includes lyrics such as “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive”, and “I only asked you to show me a real good time, I never asked for the rainfall”. It’s a dance fuelled, pop music celebration of healing after tragedy and heartbreak. It invites Gaga and Grande fans to feel liberated in forgetting their troubles, even if it’s just for three minutes and two seconds, and just enjoy the music and have a good time in the face of adversity.
In terms of the music itself, it’s just what the world needs right now. Two of the planets biggest female stars teaming up for a girl power inspired, high energy, feel good tune. With an incredible music video and learnable dance moves that are also absolutely iconic. Who doesn’t need a little bit of that in their lives right now?
Lady Gaga’s sixth album, Chromatica, will be released on 29th May 2020.
It’s a strange time in the events industry at the moment, with shows not going ahead for the foreseeable future for obvious reasons.
Venues are closed and concerts, gigs and productions have had to cancel and postpone performances and tours. Huge stars are in no way exempt from this, and even big upcoming tours from artists such as Harry Styles, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift have all been affected.
There were also likely a number of big tours that have needed to be postponed that weren’t even announced yet, and I have a sneaky suspicion that a large scale tour from the Queen Bey herself may have been one of them.
I’m a HUGE Beyoncé fan. I’ve seen her in concert 10 times, and was also lucky enough to see Destiny’s Child live back in 2002. I’ve spent a lot of money on travelling to other cities to see her shows and have even held her hand from a VIP pit (or the Beyhive Pit as her fans will know). I wouldn’t change it for the world as I’m always blown away by her shows and her stage presence, but it would be nice to see Beyoncé play in my hometown of Newcastle again.
In fact, here’s 10 reasons why Beyoncé should bring her next tour to Newcastle;
1. She Hasn’t Performed In Newcastle Since 2009 –
Yes, it’s true. The last time Bey graced Newcastle with her presence was all the way back in May 2009, when she performed at the Utilita Arena (then named the Metro Radio Arena). It was part of the UK leg of the I Am tour, which showcased her Sasha Fierce days and Single Ladies dance routine. Of course, Beyoncé did bring her last solo tour, The Formation World Tour, to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light in 2016. The show sold out and attracted crowds from all over the North East… but haway man.
2. Geordie Crowds Are One Of The Best In The Country –
It’s absolutely no secret that Geordie’s love a good gig, and we’re not quiet about it! I can’t count the number of concerts I’ve been to here where the performers have been in awe of the audience. The atmosphere that a crowd in Newcastle can bring is like no other. We’re a canny bunch, and an eclectic collection of people. When we get together for a show, the scenes are incredible. Even if there’s a bit of rain, it never puts a dampener on the crowds here, and certainly never stops us from putting on our trendiest outfit and donning our sharpest winged eyeliner. One things for sure, when Beyoncé hits the stage in her Freakum’ Dress, we’ll be right there looking like Diva’s.
3. Geordie Fans Are Loyal –
A Geordie fan is a fan for life. We love what we love and we’re dear to it. Beyoncé has a lot of devotee’s here in Newcastle, mainly because we’re people of good taste. There’s a big music and fashion scene in the North East too, and Beyoncé is undoubtably a big influence on both of those. As she’s been a big player in the music industry for over 20 years now, her music has also been a popular staple of radio, bars and nightclubs in the UK for a long time, which has created fans spanning various generations. Have you ever been in Mushroom Bar swigging a double vodka and coke when Run the World starts playing? It’s wild.
4. We’ve Got Different Venues To Choose From –
Ok so, granted, we do only have one arena in Newcastle and it is a liiiittle bit smaller than other arenas in the country. But, the arena is an iconic music venue in Newcastle and there’s a lot of love in that building with a good act on stage. Bey could even do more than one date there and they’d all be sellouts. We also have The Sage, which is renown for some of the best acoustics in Europe. The Sage would be perfect if she wanted to host a string of smaller, more intimate, shows in a beautifully artistic venue. However, Beyoncé’s last two tours, The Formation World Tour and On The Run 2 with Jay Z, were both stadium tours. So, how about St James Park? It has a capacity of over 50,000 – so just imagine the amazing show that Beyoncé could hold there.
5. Easy Travel –
Newcastle City Centre, and each of the three venues I’ve just listed, are very easy to travel to. Newcastle has a great system of metros and busses for local travel, as well as Central Station in the heart of the city and Newcastle Airport for anyone travelling further afield. There’s also an endless amount of taxi ranks in town for if your feet are sore after the show.
6. It Would Be One Of The Most Anticipated Events In The Region Of The Year –
Even if times were more normal at the minute, a Beyoncé concert in Newcastle would be one of the biggest events of the year. The excitement, the local media coverage, the Instagram pics, the mini busses full of lasses buzzing to dance away to Crazy in Love. It would be amazing. And if she was to announce a tour date in Newcastle after the lockdown, the anticipation would be amplified ten fold.
7. It Would Bring Tourism And An Economic Boost To The City –
Beyoncé’s talents are so vast that they include tourist and attractions management. Big concerts attract fans and gig goers from all over, and I should know as I have travelled to Glasgow, London, Manchester and Sydney, Australia, to see Beyoncé live. Gigs are a great excuse for a weekend away, a trip with friends or for die hard fans, like me, to show their dedication. This will bring money to the region from tourists staying in hotels and enjoying Newcastle’s shopping, food and bar scene. It goes without saying that, after the current lockdown, the city would greatly benefit from this sort of financial boost.
8. We’re A City Of Art and Culture –
In her spare time, when Beyoncé’s not selling out stadiums, having children or winning Grammy Awards, she paints. She’s also a known lover of poetry, photography and art galleries. Thankfully, Newcastle is full of wonderful art and cultural venues such as The Baltic, Laing Art Gallery and The Biscuit Factory. Beyoncé even filmed her music video for Ape Sh!t in the The Louvre Museum when she was in Paris, so, you never know?
9. Newcastle Has Some Of The Best Bars And Restaurants In The Country –
Newcastle has always been known as a party city, but over the last few years the toon has also flourished into a mecca for independent breweries, cocktail bars, coffee shops, café’s and restaurants. Not only are the bars and restaurants in Newcastle perfect for pre concert refreshments, but they’re also fit for a Queen… Bey.
10. The After Parties Would Be Amazing –
Imagine; you’ve spent the last two hours dancing, screaming and crying to Beyoncé. Actual Beyoncé. On stage in front of you. The Queen has finished her concert and you have been truly blessed to have been in the same room as her and thousands of others living it up. You’re a bit drunk. Drunk in Love, to be exact. And you’re in the toon, surrounded by some of the most banging bars and clubs in the UK. Or, some of the worst if you’d prefer those. You step onto a sticky dance floor in Florita’s with your mates around you and a daiquiri in your hand. You’re ready to dance All Night.
So there we have it, at least 10 reasons why Beyoncé should bring her next tour to Newcastle upon Tyne. Can you think of any others? Let me know!
Little Mix are one of today’s best known all female pop groups. Their catchy bops and fun personalities have helped their music career to skyrocket, as well as becoming a household name.
Made up of Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, both hailing from South Shields, as well as Leigh-Anne Pinnock from High Wycombe and Jesy Nelson from Romford. It’s rare that you turn on mainstream radio or music channels without hearing something from the girls, and their popularity only grows stronger.
They’re expected to release a new album soon, and have already released their lead single from it, titled ‘Break Up Song’. Fans, like me, are definitely excited for their new work!
After being in the spotlight for nearly 9 years now, the girls have created a great discography and some amazing moments in pop history. So, let’s take a look at how Little Mix came to be one of the biggest pop bands of our time;
The girls met while all taking part in The X Factor, but were put together as a group after auditioning as soloists, and went on to be mentored in the series by Tulisa Contostavlos.
The band were originally called Rhythmix, but changed the name to Little Mix as there was a charity called the same name.
The girls won The X Factor in December 2011 and became the first group to ever win the competition!
Little Mix attended the Brit Awards for the first time as a group. The girls said in an interview with Kiss FM that they were star struck by all the different celebrities there.
They also performed their cover of En Vogue’s single Don’t Let Go live on the National Television Awards that year.
The foursome released their debut album titled DNA a few months later. The album charted in the top 10 in 10 different countries!
The video for the albums lead single, Wings, has now had over 200 million views on YouTube.
Little Mix released the last single from their first album, How Ya Doin’, featuring hip hop legend Missy Elliott.
They followed this by releasing their second album, which was heavily anticipated by the pop music industry. Salute, featuring it’s lead single, Move, reached the top 10 in the UK, Australia and the US.
Smash Hits interviewed the band and Perrie confessed that they had only had 12 days in the studio to record all of the vocals for the full Salute album.
The girls also performed a medley of their songs for Children in Need Rocks and won their first official award after being nominated for the Ultimate Export award at the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman Awards.
In 2014 Little Mix released a charity single, their cover of Word Up by Cameo, for Sport Relief. They also travelled to Liberia to raise awareness for malaria and visited communities there living in slums to highlight why Sport Relief’s fundraising efforts are so important.
They embarked on their second tour, The Salute Tour, across the UK and Ireland. Including a sold out show at London’s 02 Arena, which they have now performed at numerous times since.
It’s also the year that Jesy Nelson’s ‘Jamaican accent’ went viral on YouTube and the world fell in love with her for it – though she later confirmed that it wasn’t actually her Jamaican accent but the video had been edited to make it look like it was!
The girls also performed live at the Summertime Ball for Capital FM, where they have become popular regular performers each year.
Black Magic was released as the lead single for their third album. The single debuted at number 1 where it stayed for 3 weeks.
Their third album Get Weird was released later that year and featured their single Secret Love Song, which the band have often dedicated to their LGBTQ fan base.
The album has since been certified double platinum in the UK!
Little Mix received critical acclaim for their debut performance at The Brit Awards, singing their chart topping song Black Magic.
They also went on their third headline tour, doing over 60 dates in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.
After performing the lead single for their fourth album, Shout Out To My Ex, for the first time on The X Factor, the band announced their new album, named Glory Days. The lead single became their fourth UK number 1 in the charts.
Glory Days was also Little Mix’s first UK number 1 album!
The band won Best British Single at the Brit Awards for Shout Out To My Ex.
Little Mix then toured with Ariana Grande in the US as her support act for her Dangerous Woman Tour, before headlining their own Glory Days Tour in Europe.
Little Mix also performed at One Love Manchester, which raised money for the tragedy at Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017.
The girls also collaborated with CNCO for their single Reggaetón Lento, which has arguably become one of their most popular songs for radio airplay.
The girls held a Summer Hits Tour across stadiums, including the North East’s own Gateshead Stadium.
The band released their fifth studio album, LM5, which included the single Woman Like Me, featuring acclaimed rapper Nicki Minaj. They performed the single with Nicki at the MTV European Music Video Awards.
They also released the video for their song Strip, which had a strong feminist undertone and featured women from many different backgrounds. Including Sharaya J, Dina Torkia and Nimco Ali.
After success with their 5th album, Little Mix performed at The Brit Awards for the third time, where they also won the award for British Artist Video of the Year.
The band controversially performed in Dubai with a pride flag behind them while singing Secret Love Song, despite the country having strict anti homosexuality laws. They received praise from the LGBTQ community for their support.
Jesy worked with the BBC on a documentary titled Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, which focussed on her battle with self confidence and how being cyber bullied online has effected her. The documentary was widely praised by fans and the public.
Perrie was announced as a patron for the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, and has used her platform to spread awareness of the importance of checking yourself regularly for breast cancer symptoms.
Leigh-Anne and Jade took part in an epic trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, raising thousands of pounds for Comic Relief.
Jade also expanded her entrepreneurial skills last year and purchased a cocktail bar in her home town of South Shields.
Little Mix released their single Bounce Back, which samples Soul || Souls hit Back to Life, as well as their very first Christmas single One I’ve Been Missing.
The girls topped off their busy year by releasing a special collection fashion line with online retailer Pretty Little Thing.
Little Mix have just released their brand new single Break Up Song, and their sixth album is hotly anticipated.
They have also announced that they will be filming their own talent competition in 2020, titled The Search.
The girls do have an upcoming summer tour released too, however dates may need to be postponed due to the ongoing situation. For more details, check our Little Mix’s tour information on Ticketmaster.
There’s certainly much more to come from Little Mix, and I can’t wait to listen to their new album!
The girls have done so well, and have proven time and time again that they’re not only band mates but actually good friends with down to earth personalities as well. Well, with two Geordie girls in the band what else would you expect?