after selling millions of albums, landing number one singles, gracing magazine covers the world over, winning every award imaginable, and, very likely, earning a healthy living in the process, destiny’s child are back with a new single, letting us know that, despite all this that they’ve been through, they’re going to be okay, they are survivors.

sounds a bit ludicrous, doesn’t it? destiny’s child have veered towards self-parody, not narrowly averting it, no: knocking it off
the fucking road. and it is all the better for that. my initial listen left me remarkably underwhelmed: the production of their tunes have placed them safely in the pop vanguard, and the rather pedestrian construction of “survivor” led me to, yes, dis them on the internet. my momma didn’t know well enough to teach me better than that; no, she never told me that i should give consideration to the songwriting, to the cast-iron, inescapable chorus. because ultimately that’s what makes “survivor” one of their finest singles, perhaps the apotheosis of their raison d’etre.

the lyrics to “survivor” are fabulous. the three that stand out most to me:
– “you know i’m not going to dis you on the internet, cos my momma taught me better than that.”
– “i’m not going to compromise my christianity.”
– “thought i wouldn’t sell without you, sold nine million.”

it’s hard not to read two meanings into the lyrics, and i’m rather certain that that was the point. you can look at this as an “i will survive” type song, a classic conceit in the dc canon (personally, i’m waiting for a single entitled “heartbreaker” that will feature the chorus, “you may’ve broke my heart, but you’ll never break me” b/w “i’m severely put-upon”); but at the same time, it also serves as a kiss-off to all of the former members, and their numbers are legion, of the group, cf. spice girls, “goodbye.” and while beyonce et. al. wish the girls the best, just like the spicies did with geri, “survivor” doesn’t attempt to put a smiley-face on the whole ordeal unlike “goodbye.” the latter’s sincerity is strained at best; the former, while wishing no harm to the old girls, puts forth a middle finger to all who would dare stand in their way, an immense “FUCK OFF” to the world. in a world of friendly, smiling pop stars, it’s reassuring to know that there are still groups out there who don’t take their success lightly, which is why i think destiny’s child will be around for a long time — or at least until beyonce decides it’s time to go solo — and why they’ll keep on surviving.