Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Queen Bey takes us on a journey into outer space with “ALIEN SUPERSTAR.”
Beyoncé‘s new album Renaissance is an entire listening experience. The songs flow into one another with such precise care that leaving one and entering another is sometimes unnoticeable, making it the kind of record best absorbed as a whole. This also makes it difficult to single out any one track as a standout among gems, but with “ALIEN SUPERSTAR,” Queen Bey reminds us exactly who she is.
“I’m one of one, I’m number one, I’m the only one/ Don’t even waste your time trying to compete with me (Don’t do it)/ No one else in this world can think like me (True).” Indeed, Renaissance‘s mere existence is a 16-track collection that speaks to Beyoncé’s singularity as an artist. For decades, she’s been the standard when it comes to being a true entertainer, and it doesn’t look like that bar will be lowering any time soon.
Her career is characterized by legendary live performances, essential cultural touchstones like Lemonade, a willingness to embrace new sounds (as she does with Renaissance), and the maintenance of a certain kind of distance that ensures an air of mystery follows her everywhere she goes. “I’m too classy for this world, forever I’m that girl,” she declares.
As usual with Beyoncé, there are essential details woven into “ALIEN SUPERSTAR” that offer more insight into her intentions with the song. Partway through, she samples a speech from visionary writer, producer, and teacher Barbara Ann Teer, the founder of Harlem’s Black National Theatre in the late 1960s.
The audio we hear is pulled from a speech Teer gave reflecting on her work starting the theater: “We dress a certain way. We walk a certain way. We talk a certain way. We paint a certain way. We make love a certain way, you know? All of these things we do in a different, unique specific way that is personally ours.”
While Beyoncé might exist on a higher plane than the rest of us, floating through a galaxy all her own, she remains generously tethered to us with tracks like this.
— Mary Siroky