Homecoming: The Live Album

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Homecoming: The Live Album
Color photograph of Beyoncé
Live album by
ReleasedApril 17, 2019 (2019-04-17)
RecordedApril 14 and 21, 2018
VenueEmpire Polo Club, Indio, CA
StudioNRG, Los Angeles, CA
Length108:57
Label
Producer
  • Beyoncé
  • Derek Dixie
Beyoncé chronology
Everything Is Love
(2018)
Homecoming: The Live Album
(2019)
The Lion King: The Gift
(2019)
Beyoncé live album chronology
I Am... World Tour
(2010)
Homecoming: The Live Album
(2019)

Homecoming: The Live Album (stylized in all caps, or as HΘMΣCΘMING: THE LIVE ALBUM) is the fifth live album by American singer Beyoncé, released on April 17, 2019.[1][2][3][4][5] Recorded in April 2018 at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, the album features the entirety of Beyoncé's performance at the festival, which has since been described as "historic" by a number of music critics and media outlets.[6][7][8][9][10] Two bonus studio tracks – a cover of Maze's song "Before I Let Go" and "I Been On" – follow the live recording, bringing the album's length to just short of two hours.[2]

The album accompanied a concert film about the performance, Homecoming, which premiered the same day on the streaming platform Netflix.[2]

Background and recording[edit]

On January 4, 2017, Beyoncé was announced as a headlining act for the April 2017 Coachella festival.[11] However, on February 23, 2017, she postponed her performance until the following year, due to doctor's concerns regarding her pregnancy with twins (born in June 2017).[12][13] Playing her rescheduled dates in 2018, Beyoncé became the first black woman ever to headline the festival. In its nearly twenty years of existence, the festival has only had two other women solo headliners, Lady Gaga (who replaced Beyoncé in 2017) and Björk (2002 and 2007).[14] Even prior to Beyoncé's performance, the nickname "Beychella" emerged for the 2018 festival.[14]

For her April 14 and 21, 2018, performances, some 100 dancers as well as her sister Solange, her husband Jay-Z, and her former girl group Destiny's Child joined Beyoncé on stage. She played a 26-song set to 125,000 concert-goers in attendance as well as millions watching via the live-stream on YouTube and subsequent playback.[15] The set sampled Malcolm X and Nina Simone among others.[16] The performance has been credited as paying a strong tribute to the HBCU experience.[17] A full marching band played during much of the set, accompanied by majorette dancers.[18] Writing for Mic.com, Natelegé Whaley stated that the band consisted of members from various HBCUs and played samples of songs that are often played at an HBCU such as "Swag Surf", "Broccoli", and "Back That Thang Up", along with samples of gospel and go-go music.[19] Journalists also noted that the set incorporated various aspects of black Greek life, such as a step show along with strolling by probates (pledges). Reviewers noted the influence of black feminism on Beyoncé's performance, including her sampling of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk on feminism and the aforementioned appearances on stage of former collaborators Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child as well as her sister Solange; writing in Cosmopolitan, Brittney Cooper read Beyoncé's decision to involve these black women in the landmark performance as a gesture of sisterhood.[20]

Release[edit]

The album was released on April 17, 2019, to coincide with the release of Homecoming, a documentary about the Coachella set that premiered on the streaming platform Netflix.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AOTY87/100[21]
Metacritic98/100[22]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[23]
HipHopDX4.8/5[24]
Los Angeles Times(positive)[25]
Pitchfork9.3/10[26]
PopMatters7/10[27]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[28]

Homecoming: The Live Album received widespread acclaim from music critics. Metacritic assigned the album a weighted average score of 98, based on 5 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[29]

Writing for Los Angeles Times, Sonaiya Kelley named Homecoming: The Live Album as "one of the greatest live albums ever", with Makeda Easter adding that the "album is a piece of black history".[30] Bernadette Giacomazzo of HipHopDX called the album an "artistically-sound triumph" as well as a "cultural touchstone and, quite possibly, the live album of a generation". Giacomazzo describes that what makes the album "so classic is that Beyoncé makes clear" that she is "Black Excellence, personified — and in her performance, she makes the audience believe that they, too, are Black Excellence personified".[31]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Brittany Spanos described the album as "triumphant" and "awe-inspiring". She noticed that the live album successfully felt like a greatest hits collection (reimagined to fit the college homecoming theme and marching band) due to its lack of connection to any specific album.[28] In a review for Pitchfork, Danielle Jackson praised the album as a "stunning" preservation of Beyoncé's Coachella performance, commending its focus on historical black artists. She wrote that the performance showcased Beyoncé at her vocal and physical peak, while celebrating "complex, diasporic blackness". She also applauded the album's mixing and engineering, and concluded that the "wondrous, rapturous collage" could serve as one of Beyoncé's most important albums.[26] AllMusic's reviewer Neil Z. Yeung had similar sentiments, concluding that "Homecoming is a master class in technical prowess, crowd pleasing, and soulful substance. Channeling the spirit of African queen Nefertiti (whose image she adopted for this show), Beyoncé proved to be a ruler in her own right, lording over Coachella for two career-defining nights."[23]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref.
2019
BreakTudo Awards Album of the Year Pending [32]

Commercial performance[edit]

Homecoming: The Live Album debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200 with 38,000 album-equivalent units (including 14,000 in album sales) from only two days of tracking activity. It is Beyoncé's eighth solo US top 10 album.[33] The following week, it rose to number four, earning 57,000 album-equivalent units (including 8,000 album sales).[34]

After the album's release, the studio version of "Before I Let Go" peaked at number 17 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales Chart[35] as well as number 3 on the Billboard R&B Digital Song Sales Chart.[36] In the beginning of May, "Before I Let Go" debuted at number 75 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart issue dated May 4, 2019. It peaked at number 65 in the US Billboard Hot 100 issue dated May 11, 2019.[37]

Impact[edit]

Homecoming: The Live Album has been said to have set a trend of musicians releasing albums with complementary film projects on Netflix. Lonely Island's The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, Thom Yorke's Anima, Sturgill Simpson's Sound & Fury, and Kid Cudi's Entergalactic are all cited as examples of projects that have followed the precedent that Homecoming: The Live Album set.[38] Sheldon Pearce for Pitchfork wrote that Homecoming kickstarted the "ongoing uprising" where "black women have been demanding ownership of their outsized impact on culture"; Jamila Woods' LEGACY! LEGACY! and Rapsody's Eve, as well as exhibitions such as "Black Women: Power and Grace" and "Posing Modernity", are mentioned as later works that constitute the "formative syllabus" that started with Homecoming.[39]

Frankie Beverly, who originally sang "Before I Let Go", praised Beyoncé's cover of the song in Homecoming: The Live Album, saying "It's a blessing... She's done so much, this is one of the high points of my life."[40] R&B legend Anita Baker also commented on Beyoncé's cover, describing Beyoncé as "Queen keeping R&B alive".[41]

Music director Derek Dixie called working on Homecoming: The Live Album a "blessing", adding that being nominated for an Emmy Award means that "I’ve kind of accomplished something for the home team and family." Dixie also said "It was just months and months of prep work, making it sound authentic. She has tons and tons of classic records that when putting the show together, you have to maintain the classic feel of the record but make it feel like you’re in a stadium at homecoming."[42]

A 9-feet-tall statue of Beyoncé as seen on the Homecoming: The Live Album cover was unveiled at Mercedes-Benz Area in Berlin.[43]

The "GO FIGURE" data visualization series explored the words and phrases that Beyoncé repeated throughout Homecoming and their impact on the viewer, with Semmi W. writing that Beyoncé "plants seeds of positive self-talk rather than doubt. Whether I was catching the subway or cleaning my apartment, her edict between my ears this weekend was cause for royal jubilee. In under two hours, Queen Bey kept declaring that we are all enough. In 162 sentences she told us to love, hustle, and claim what’s yours. She repeatedly affirmed my intrinsic worth as a black girl-turned-adult."[44]

Through the tribute to HBCU culture in Homecoming: The Live Album (such as on the track "So Much Damn Swag"), Beyoncé increased people's interest in HBCUs. Students cited Homecoming as the reason that they were considering attending HBCUs,[45] and Google searches for "HBCU" reached an all-time high after Homecoming: The Live Album was released.[46]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Beyoncé's official website.[47] All songs are produced by Beyoncé and Derek Dixie, except "Lift Every Voice and Sing", "So Much Damn Swag (Interlude)", "Bug a Boo Roll Call (Interlude)", "Lift Every Voice and Sing (Blue's Version)" and the bonus tracks ("Before I Let Go" and "I Been On"), which credit no producers.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Welcome" (announced by Slater Thorpe)3:16
2."Crazy in Love"2:47
3."Freedom"1:54
4."Lift Every Voice and Sing"James Weldon Johnson2:09
5."Formation"
4:23
6."So Much Damn Swag" (interlude)Beyoncé0:59
7."Sorry"6:34
8."Kitty Kat"
0:42
9."Bow Down"
1:28
10."I Been On"2:40
11."Drunk in Love"4:14
12."Diva"
2:46
13."Flawless" / "Feeling Myself"
3:58
14."Top Off"
  • S. Carter
  • Wilburn
  • Denisia Andrews
  • Brittany Coney
  • Khaled Khaled
  • Beyoncé
  • Joe Zarillo
1:23
15."7/11"
3:04
16."Bug a Boo Roll Call" (interlude)1:58
17."Party"3:48
18."Don't Hurt Yourself"4:17
19."I Care"
  • Bhasker
  • Hugo
  • Beyoncé
4:09
20."Partition"
2:19
21."Yoncé"
  • Dean
  • Harmon
  • Beyoncé
  • Mosley
  • Nash
  • Timberlake
1:08
22."Mi Gente" (featuring J Balvin)
2:57
23."Baby Boy"
1:32
24."You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)"1:12
25."Hold Up"0:46
26."Countdown"1:43
27."Check on It"
1:16
28."Déjà Vu" (featuring Jay-Z)
4:50
29."The Bzzzz Drumline" (interlude; announced by Slater Thorpe)3:10
30."Run the World (Girls)"3:53
31."Lose My Breath" (with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)
1:31
32."Say My Name" (with Rowland and Williams)
1:52
33."Soldier" (with Rowland and Williams)
2:11
34."Get Me Bodied"
4:23
35."Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"3:27
36."Lift Every Voice and Sing" (Blue's version; with Blue Ivy Carter)James Weldon Johnson1:42
37."Love on Top"
  • Beyoncé
  • Nash
  • R.S. Taylor
  • Cooper
3:47
38."Shining (Thank You)"
  • Bacharach
  • Brathwaite
  • Burley
  • S. Carter
  • David
  • Hills
  • Khaled
  • Beyoncé
2:39
39."Before I Let Go" (bonus track)4:01
40."I Been On" (bonus track)
  • Beyoncé
  • Jamal Jones
  • Timothy Mosley
  • Jonathan "Anonymous" Solonne-Myvett
  • Theron Thomas
  • Timothy Thomas
  • Sonny Corey Uwaezuoke
2:25
Total length:108:57

Sample credits

  • "Formation" contains an excerpt from Nina Simone's speech "That Blackness" (February 2013).
  • "Don't Hurt Yourself" contains an excerpt from Malcolm X's speech "Who Taught You to Hate Yourself" (May 5, 1962, Los Angeles, CA).
  • "Run the World (Girls)" contains an excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech "We Should All Be Feminists" (December 2012).
  • "Before I Let Go" contains a sample of "Get Ready Ready" performed by DJ Jubilee, a sample of "Before I Let Go" performed by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and an interpolation of "Candy" written by Larry Blackmon and Tomi Jenkins.

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

Instrumentation[edit]

Band

The Bzzzz (drumline live)

Choir

Strings

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[48] 18
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[49] 46
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[50] 7
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[51] 56
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[52] 7
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[53] 11
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[54] 9
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[55] 41
French Albums (SNEP)[56] 34
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[57] 41
Irish Albums (IRMA)[58] 20
Italian Albums (FIMI)[59] 52
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[60] 22
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[61] 18
Scottish Albums (OCC)[62] 49
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[63] 88
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[64] 33
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[65] 15
UK Albums (OCC)[66] 25
US Billboard 200[67] 4
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[68] 2

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External links[edit]