We need to make Beyoncé’s ‘Alien Superstar’ the song of the summer


This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. Sign up here to receive the full newsletter in your inbox every week.

This week:

  • Our very own gay Carrie Bradshaw.
  • The new Beyoncé song everyone should listen to.
  • I can’t get over this one news item of the week.
  • A first-hand account of why Marvel sucks.
  • Ben Affleck, always hit the nail on the head.

The best song on Beyoncé’s new album

I can’t wait to listen to Beyoncé’s new album the way it was meant to be experienced – on a dance floor in a club, surrounded by revelers.

Let’s face it: I won’t be in any club this weekend. i will play Renaissance at a respectable volume from my Spotify-with-ads account, doing some shoulder dancing in the kitchen while doing some dishes.

But the glory of Renaissance, which Allegra Frank rightly praised in her Daily Beast review as an ode to queer dance floor anthems and the ballroom scene of the ’80s, is that it’s the first piece of music in a long time that makes me at least think to do something wild like “leave my apartment” – and that’s huge. Beyoncé really said, “Don’t worry about monkey pox, my kids. I got you.” Maybe Renaissance has musical inoculation qualifications.

I want to personally thank Beyoncé for giving us a reason to feel alive this summer with this album. I’d like to thank her for keeping the album to a tight one hour runtime, because no one has time for anything longer than that in this climate. And I especially want to thank her for “Alien Superstar”, the standout track from the album, and the one that, if we had any taste at all, should become a huge hit and be our collective obsession for the year.

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Like most RenaissanceThe remarkable thing about “Alien Superstar” is how it manages to sound both unshakably familiar, as if it were already the soundtrack to a shaping moment of joy you experienced in your life, and completely fresh and game-changing. It’s the kind of song that can make you feel like you’re a different person when you listen to it – someone who is maybe even a little more fun and fantastic.

The moment it is launched with its pulsating sounds and thumping, your body begins to convulse reflexively. Whatever the musical equivalent of a vocal prop, Beyoncé works her spoken word verse like a catwalk, spitting through lines about how she’s the worst bitch in the room, and no one else can compare. Your mind begins to catch fire until something new and unknown begins to rise from you like smoke. Is it – could it be – self-confidence? Do you dare to feel a little arrogance, a deserved ego? Could you even be tempted to demand attention on a dance floor? Could you feel yourself?

“Alien Superstar” was tailor-made for a Ballroom fight, and I can only imagine how gripping and invigorating it would be to watch. But it’s also a fantastic mix of unabashedly queer and irresistibly accessible.

Yes, I want to hear this in a gay club. I want to hear it too as I walk down the aisle at CVS. It’s the kind of song that deserves to be an event, an anthem. But it’s a lifestyle. I think that’s the ethos of this song. We are all ‘UNIQUE’, but we no longer see that as a reason to be left out. Bring on the alien superstar invasion. We’ve been here all this time. We just needed Beyoncé to beam the spirit out of us.

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This is total nonsense

In times like these I think of the night I put my decorative golden girls party plate in the microwave and it caught fire. It was stressful. I thought my life was on the line. It was, literally, flamingly gay. There was an intense, disempowering trauma, and then life moved on.

I’m afraid this is how I, and perhaps a collective “we” have resigned themselves to enduring certain other, flaming gay traumas that are in the news – we are sparking a righteous frenzy on social media, but then kindly move on. I thought of this after the news this week that Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson voted against codifying same-sex marriage into law, and attended his gay son’s wedding three days later.

It was a striking example of the hypocrisy and complacency surrounding what increasingly appears to be an inevitable threat: deprivation of rights, and our willingness to accept it.

No one wants someone whose job is to write 1,200-word pieces about a funny scene from The Real Housewives preach about politics, and I don’t want to – except for the fact that my existence and desire to be open about it to be still political. That there are debates and concerns about rolling back legal protections for the LGBT community is nonsense. We should not assume that everything will be fine. What have these last years taught us, if not that things are unequivocal? not will it be okay?

Another reason to think Marvel sucks

When critics complain about Marvel’s takeover of pop culture, the fact that it’s the only content people watch and care about, they’re labeled elitist, pretentious, or unattainable. Usually they are considered bummers. These are things that people love and that make them happy. Why try to ruin the fun?

That’s why I’m such a fan of the article that appeared on Vulture this week: “I’m a VFX artist and I’m tired of getting ‘Pixel-F–ked’ from Marvel.”

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The piece provides an incredible insight into what has always been one of the most frustrating things about Marvel: these are projects that rely on special effects to an exhausting degree, especially since the effects are so often just plain ugly. It turns out that, as the person in the article claims, the studio is treating its special effects team like garbage, with ridiculous expectations and few resources. Again, a weird position to be in when your movies are 99.9 percent special effects!

It’s a fascinating read.

This is the summer mood

Ben Affleck, always serving just the right vibe. Look at him sleeping in that chair. He is the moment.

What to watch this week:

sharp stick: Lena Dunham’s latest exploration of sexual maturity is messy and fearless in all the right ways. (Friday in theaters)

disconnected: Scratch any Emily in Paris/Sex and the city itch. (vr. on Netflix)

Resurrection: Rebecca Hall never misses. Pay her some respect. (Friday in theaters)

Industry: This was last year’s “Cool People Talk About This Show, But You’ve Never Seen It” series. Time to fix that! (Mon. on HBO)

What to skip this week:

Surface: As always, Gugu Mbatha-Raw deserves better. (Fri. on Apple TV+)

DC League of Super Pets: Even for a children’s movie/commercial, this one is surprisingly cynical. (Friday in theaters)

The Daily Beast is obsessed

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating and thinking about this week in pop culture.