Playback: Destiny’s Child ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’

thewritingsonthewallIt’s been fifteen years since Destiny’s Child released their ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ album so we’ve decided to take a look back at what it is that makes it such an iconic album even to this day in our new ‘Playback’ feature.

At the time, Destiny’s Child were made up of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson and Letoya Luckett, that is before everything changed and they became the DC3 we all miss. The then four piece released ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ as a sort of relationship bible complete with commandments such as ‘Thou shall not think you got it like that,’ and ‘Thou shall not give in to temptation.’ It earned the girls an impressive six Grammy awards and has made it on to countless top album lists including Billboards Top 200 Albums of the Decade.

With that in mind, I listened back to ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ with fresh ears and found that if it were to be released today, it probably wouldn’t do so well in the charts, however it would still be huge among R&B fans all over the world.

My reason for saying so is that music has changed so much in the past 15 years, the pop music we hear in the charts today is a far cry from what we were listening to in 1999. While ‘Say My Name’ was one of the girls’ biggest hits and earned them 4 number 1’s and 2 Grammy awards it definitely wouldn’t make it to number one in 2014. Not when female singers are all about heavy bass and quick firing lyrics. That’s not to take away from the magic of ‘The Writing’s On The Wall.’ While it is “so 90s!” it still has relevance today and would fit into the more pure R&B genre rather than the hip hop tendencies of today’s R&B, or the slow burning sultriness of alternative R&B that’s become huge in the past couple of years.

Songs like ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Jumpin Jumpin’ are classics that will continue to get played for years to come and while we all know how great they are, they’re not the best tracks on the album. There are some hidden gems on the LP like ‘Temptation’ where Beyoncé turns down the tone and goes all husky on us, delivering a pretty honest track and a theme which leads to ‘Confessions’ where we hear the girls have actually acted on that temptation and start telling us about “the things they did.”

As for girl power, Destiny’s Child picked up the female empowerment torch where the Spice Girls left off only with a sexier edge, and that’s shown in ‘So Good,’ ‘Bills Bills Bills’ and ‘Bug A Boo’ where DC stick up for themselves, throw down the haters and generally kick ass all without a hair out of place. That empowerment continues to another highlight, which I feel is often the most underrated track on the album, ‘Sweet Sixteen.’ It’s beautifully honest, tenderly sung and definitely relatable to any girl who has felt what it’s like to be a teenager trying to figure out who she is.

It’s no wonder Destiny’s Child gained the huge critical acclaim that they did, especially with ‘The Writing’s On The Wall.’ They stayed true to what R&B music is about but still pushed it a little further. They appealed to everyone and remain one of the most iconic girl groups of all time. As for ‘The Writing’s On The Wall,’ it definitely passes our playback test. Believe me, there’s no relationship problem that this album can’t solve, even fifteen years later!

Michelle Ryan

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