This week marks the 15th Anniversary of the release of Destiny’s Child’s second album The Writing’s On the Wall. Released on July 27, 1999, very few albums have come along that change the music landscape; The Writing’s On the Wall is one of them.
Beyoncé, Kelly, Latavia, and LeToya helped change the rules of R&B with this CD.’The Writing’s on the Wall” was a vessel for four Texans to let their feelings be known on an array of topics that ranged from love, sex, success, and growing up.
From break-ups to finding love, to partying with friends, each emotion is explored on the Grammy-winning album’s sixteen tracks. But beyond the sassy lyrics and silky vocals, the foundation was laid for one of the biggest girl groups of our time to flourish and the biggest star of the 21st century blossomed in the process.
Looking back did these young ladies even realize the kind of precedent they would set with their sophomore? If you thought of Destiny’s Child as just another novelty R&B act they proved on their sophomore album they were shaping the sound of modern R&B music. The group’s soulful yet controlled vocals are reminiscent of En Vogue and Diana Ross and The Supremes, while mixing in the hip-hop swag of TLC. The ladies are not even in their 20s on this album and they sang with the power of those far beyond their years.
Beyoncé’s lead vocals along with the help of the very talented of DC4s harmonies are amazing. The ladies bridged the gap between R&B of the 1990s and the new millennium. The power in this album is the group’s ability to utilize those inspiring gospel-inspired harmonies on each track. In comparison to other groups at the time they were able to ride the beat almost giving the tracks a rap-sung feeling but still keeping solid vocals. The production value on each track is premium in comparison to the group’s first album and the lyrical content is taken up a notch as well.
The ladies bridged the gap between R&B of the 1990s and the new millennium.
Let’s be clear if there was no The Writing’s On the Wall, there would be no Queen Bey.
In the last few decades, some of the top solo R&B acts have come from musical groups: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Patti Labelle, and Justin Timberlake, just to name a few. Beyoncé certainly is included on that list. Many say that Beyoncé was singled out or brought to the forefront, but she arguably has the most unique voice and that star quality from the group (Kelly Rowland is a close second.)
Beyond the obvious fact that Queen Bey is the true child of Destiny you can appreciate just how much an album like “The Writing’s on the Wall’ allowed her to challenge herself and introduced the world to her vocal prowess.
Even amid the drama of the line-up changes when Michelle and Farrah joined, and the naysayers who harped on the fact that Knowles was favored over the other girls because of her parent’s connection to the business dealings of the group, her talent was always there. Like any true diamond under pressure, it gave the group the ability to shine and rule the charts.
“Say My Name” Video
The R&B and pop stars of today grew up listening to the Fearless anthems like “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” and vulnerable tracks like “Sweet Sixteen” and “Stay.” The diversity among the tracks made for a great balance on this album. If you listen to albums that came after that explored teenage heartbreak and finding love, The Writing’s On the Wall is certainly the manual on how to perfect it.
The Writing’s On the Wall helped shift forward the sound of modern R&B. The themes from this album can be seen in works by artists that followed like Rihanna, Ciara, and Danity Kane. They all certainly took notes from this R&B bible when they created their breakout albums.
The ladies may have gotten flack from some insecure men for the strong lyrics but they ladies stood up for women everywhere.
There were empowering records on this album for young women. While R&B group TLC had success with the track “No Scrubs” Destiny’s Child took it a step further asking said scrub can he even pay their “Bills, Bills, Bills.” Or how about on songs like “So Good” and “Hey Ladies” where you can sing along in triumph about past relationships and not needing anyone to define you.
Destiny’s Child let young ladies know that they called the shots and that helped lead the girl power R&B of today. Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child the feminists were definitely born on this album and Knowles took those same feelings and grew upon them on future works.
“Bills, Bills, Bills” Video
Listen to The Writing’s On the Wall below.
What are your top 3 songs off Destiny's Child's "The Writing's on the Wall"?
— Rated R&B (@RatedRnB) July 28, 2014
“@RatedRnB: What are your top 3 songs off Destiny's Child's "The Writing's on the Wall"? Temptation, So Good and "Sweet Sixteen"
— PatDhat (@PatDhat) July 28, 2014
Confessions, Now that's she's gone, temptations “@RatedRnB: What are your top 3 songs off Destiny's Child's "The Writing's on the Wall"?”
— Vanessa Denis (@IamVanessaDenis) July 28, 2014
Hey Ladies , Where'd You Go, She Cant Love
“@RatedRnB: What are your top 3 songs off Destiny's Child's "The Writing's on the Wall"?”
— ً SMILEYSIDNEY (@siduationss) July 28, 2014