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World Citizens Group

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Hunter Williams
Hunter Williams

Survivor - Destinys Child

Originally titled Independent Women after "Independent Women Part I", the album was later retitled Survivors, as Destiny's Child branded themselves "survivors" in reference to the turmoil that had coincided with the group throughout 2000.[28] The title was later altered to Survivor. Beyoncé further explained: "I thought about this joke that this radio station had, and they were saying, 'Oh, Destiny's Child is like "Survivor," trying to see which member is going to last the longest on the island,' and everyone laughed. I was like, 'Ah, that's cute, but you know what? I'm going to use that negative thing and turn it into a positive thing and try to write a great song out of it.'"[22]

Survivor - Destinys Child


"Survivor" was released as the lead single from Survivor on March 6, 2001, to mixed critical reception.[64][65] A commercial success, it became Destiny's Child's fourth consecutive US Billboard Hot 100 top-three single, peaking at number two.[7] The digital single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in July 2020.[66] Internationally, the song reached the summit in Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom, and the top ten in 15 additional countries.[67][68][69] Despite a mixed critical response, it won Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards (2002), marking Destiny's Child's third and final Grammy Award win as a group.[9] Its Darren Grant-directed accompanying music video depicts the members as shipwreck survivors on a desert island.[70] The video was released as the group's first DVD single, which peaked at number nine on the US Top Music Videos and was certified gold by the RIAA.[71][66] At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, the video won Best R&B Video,[72] also being nominated for Best Pop Video and Best Group Video.[73]

Nobody would have predicted that Destiny's Child would rule over the contemporary R&B scene in the beginning of the new millennium -- not after "Bills, Bills, Bills" hit the top of the charts, not even after "Say My Name" became an anthem in 2000. But nobody challenged their position, so they reigned supreme in the early 2000s, eventually inheriting the title of the great girl group of their era. Since they had a couple of pretty good singles, namely the aforementioned pair, most conceded them that position, particularly since they seemed more talented than their peers, but Survivor, their first album as full-fledged superstars -- also their first album since most of the group disappeared due to managerial conflicts -- is as contrived and calculated as a Mariah Carey record, only without the joy. This is a determined, bullheaded record, intent on proving Destiny's Child has artistic merit largely because the group survived internal strife. So, whatever pop kitsch references the title may have -- and it's hard not to see it as an attempt to tap into the American public's insatiable love for CBS' brilliant reality TV show of the same name -- the title is certainly heartfelt, as the members of Destiny's Child want to illustrate that they are indeed survivors. This doggedness may fit on occasion, as on "Independent Women, Pt. 1," the theme to Charlie's Angels, but it usually takes precedence over the music -- such as on the title track, a flat-out terrible song and the worst the group has ever recorded. "Survivor" is painfully labored, stuttering over a halting melody that Beyoncé Knowles breathlessly pushes to absolutely nowhere, working it so hard that it's difficult to listen. Unfortunately, that pattern repeats itself way too often on Survivor, as the group undercuts its seductive mainstream R&B with repellent pandering and naked ambition. This isn't even the case where you can rely on the label and its cohorts to find the best tunes for the radio, since the moments where Destiny's Child sound the best are when the group is not vying for airplay. When the group swings for the bleachers, Beyoncé oversells the song, rivaling Christina Aguilera in the diva sweepstakes. There are moments where the group makes it work, but this is a truly uneven record, bouncing between appealing mid-tempo soul numbers and hard-sell feminist anthems, where the ambition of Beyoncé and her cohorts is too naked. You can hear them work on "Nasty Girl," as they appropriate the theme from Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It," then inexplicably borrowing "Tarzan Boy" for the chorus. You can hear them trying to take Andy Gibb's "Emotion" slow, attempting to give it emotional resonance, yet such heartfelt overtures are toppled by the arrogant "Gospel Medley," where their secular pyrotechnics sound mannered, not inspired. Each of these are intended to give Destiny's Child a different level of depth -- a pan-cultural, knowing appropriation of pop's past, balanced by a chart-savvy cover of a pop classic, plus a showy display of prowess. Each of these steps are calculated, as is the album itself. It's a record that tries to be a bold statement of purpose, but winds up feeling forced and artificial. 041b061a72


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