Of all the VMA mistakes that took place on Sunday, one of the absolute worst took place far away from the MTV stage. I’m not sure what hyperbole-believing soul tweeted this, but someone running the Nylon magazine declared minutes after Miley Cyrus hosted a new album on Twitter, “#MileyCyrus just outdid Beyoncé and dropped a surprise (free!) album.” True to form, whenever someone disrespects the Queen Bey, the clap back was as intense as it was immediate.
You can count me in on those who ridiculed the ridiculous proclamation. It made absolutely no sense. Miley Cyrus released a free album that could be streamed via Soundcloud. Meanwhile, Beyoncé recorded an entire album with a video for each individual track in secret, released the album out of the blue, and despite being at a higher price point, smashed iTunes sales records. How are the two comparable at all?
12 hours later came damage control with additional tweets like, “Y’all, the free album/mic drop moment was freaking huge for Miley, point blank. Of course NO one outdoes Beyoncé. Obviously. Bad word choice.”
I imagine some of this is rooted in low expectations, and presumably, SEO. It is also a trend in online media where a phrase and/or comparison is made and everyone else rushes to abuse it to death. As in, “Pull a Beyoncé.” Such phrasing was used whenever someone dropped an album online with little to no promo. If you search “Pull a Beyoncé” you will find references to Miley Cyrus, Azealia Banks, Tyga, Drake, U2, and The Lox. For some reason, even Caitlyn Jenner and Kim Kardashian’s names will pop up in reference to “pulling a Beyoncé.”
So, Beyoncé is not the first person to release an album out of the blue online. Beyoncé is, however, the first artist to do so in such grandiose fashion and generate the kind of attention that only an artist as popular as Beyoncé can. Beyoncé created the kind of moment in popular culture that rarely exists anymore because not only do we collectively suffer from a lack of attention span, but most people rarely care about the album altogether anymore.
The Beyoncé album is one of kind, so while respect to those artists who bravely release an album with no promotion behind it, it’s not like what Beyoncé did. Give Beyoncé more credit than that. Hell, give your brains more credit than that.
Repeat after me: “There is no such thing as ’pulling a Beyoncé.’ There will never be another album like Beyoncé’s—even from Beyoncé herself. I need to stop comparing other surprise album releases—especially free ones—to Beyoncé because it’s not the same.”
Find another way to generate excitement about whatever subject you’re talking about. Now, do yourselves a favor and turn on Nicki Minaj’s “Feeling Myself” with Beyoncé. She had already done a good job of showing you the error of your ways, but I’m still happy to help you well meaning folks out.