Released: May 1, 2001
Genre: R&B • pop
Producer: Anthony Dent • K-Fam • Mark J. Feist • Rob Fusari • Beyoncé Knowles • Errol “Poppi” McCalla Jr • Falonte Moore • Poke & Tone • Rapture & E. Seats • Cory Rooney • Dwayne Wiggins
Destiny’s Child was one of the world’s most emerging girl groups in the late 90s. Originally with the four founding members Beyoncé Knowles, LeToya Luckett, LaTavia Roberson & Kelly Rowland, the group scored hits with their first two albums Destiny’s Child (1997) & The Writing’s on the Wall (1999). We know the history of how it went down with the Say My Name video scandal so no need to rehash on the whole ordeal. We’re here for the music!
With the group dropping from a quartet to a trio, the group consisted of Beyoncé, Kelly & Michelle Williams, who was a former backing vocalist for artists like Monica. The group began work on their next album, “Survivor” in the spring of 2000, with Michelle Williams & Farrah Franklin. Franklin left the group before the release of the lead single of the soundtrack to Charlie’s Angels & the album.
Survivor was released May 1, 2001. The title was coined from a joke made by critics about group members leaving (I’ll go into more detail when discussing the title track,) but it is truly a testament of what the group endured during that time.
The definition of a survivor has many meanings. For Destiny’s Child, it meant the group of strong black ladies who coped amazingly well with the difficulties in their lives at the time. Mind you, the ladies were in their late teens, early twenties when the group lineup scandal occurred.
Most girl groups cannot (and do not) survive after one or more than one group member leaves the group. These three ladies proved two things: 1. That the show must go on, and 2. God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. & these women are definitely soldiers. One thing I loved about Survivor was that Beyoncé was a songwriter on the majority of the record. YOU WANT TO WRITE!
Survivor debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 663,275 copies, which was the highest first -week sales figures of any female group in the SoundScan era and the highest first-week sales figures of any album in Columbia Records’ HISTORY. The album has also been certified 4x platinum by the RIAA.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Destiny’s Child’s Survivor.
Independent Women Part I
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Samuel Barnes, Cory Rooney & Jean-Claude Olivier
Independent Women Part I was a MOMENT, okay!! The lead single for the soundtrack and the album, the song was a feminist anthem about showcasing independence in relationships. It tells you that men aren’t needed to buy the materialistic things they desire.
The song doesn’t necessarily say oh forget the relationship. The song became the group’s longest running number one single, spending 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Also, the song was number one on the Billboard R&B charts. The song was interpolated in Jay-Z’s verse in Missy Elliott’s One Minute Man remix.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Anthony Dent & Mathew Knowles
After all of the darkness and sadness, soon comes happiness. If I survive myself with positive things, I’ll gain prosperity.-Michelle Williams
We love a song with a message!!! Survivor was inspired by a joke that a radio station had made about there’s been three members that left the group, comparing them to the reality game television show of the same name. It was also assumed that the song was obviously about the former members of the group (LaTavia, LeToya & Farrah), but Beyoncé decided to take the negative comment and turn it into a positive by making a song about overcoming their obstacles and adversaries.
The ladies filed a lawsuit against Kelly, Bey and Mathew Knowles for some of the lyrics on the record and that it violated an agreement that stated that either party can’t insult the other.
Survivor peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and number six on the R&B charts. Also, the record was huge in the UK..peaking at number one on the pop & R&B charts. The song was also certified platinum by the RIAA. The song was interpolated by Aretha Franklin on her “I Will Survive” cover.
Written by Charlie Skilling, Beyoncé Knowles, Falonte Moore & Stephanie Nicks
Bootylicious gave appreciation to the curvy and voluptuous woman and gave them their flowers for sure. It was such a big song that the title eventually ended up in the Oxford English Dictionary. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number two on the R&B charts respectively. To this day, it remains the last song by a girl group to top the U.S. charts. The song heavily samples Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Anthony Dent, Maurizio Bassi & Naimy Hackett
Someone on YouTube said this song didn’t age well, and when I say I cackled. Lmaooo! Nasty Girl is basically a song that is slut shaming a girl for dressing provocatively and I really hope this is satirical because chile. The song contains interpolations from Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It & Baltimora’s Tarzan Boy.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Dwayne Wiggins & J.R. Rotem
Fancy is a song that speaks lyrically about someone who steals your shine pretty much. That person who always have to be competitive with you and just be a whole weirdo. We’re all familiar with those kinds of people.
Apple Pie à la Mode
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Rob Fusari & Falonte Moore
This is absolutely one of my highlights on the Survivor album. You ever see a man so beautiful that he looks like a dessert? That’s basically what Apple Pie à la Mode is about.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles & Damon Elliott
I LIVE FOR A BOP FROM DC3! Sexy Daddy is another record I enjoy from the album.
Independent Women Part II
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Rapture Stewart, Eric Seats, Frank Comstock & David Donaldson
A fun fact I did not know until recently is that this version of Independent Women was supposed to be the original version, and that part one was supposed to be the remix. I like this version too! It contains elements from Peabody’s Improbable History, and the production is actually pretty nice.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Rob Fusari, Falonte Moore, Calvin Gaines & Bill Lee
Happy Face really is a record that gets me through some of my toughest days. I love this record because vocally, whew. The ladies sound so well together. 10s across the board!
I will survive abandonment.
I will survive a broken heart.
I will survive loneliness.-Kelly Rowland
Written by Barry Gibb & Robin Gibb
A cover of the Samantha Sang classic that was written by members of The Bee Gees (Barry & Robin Gibb,) the song was a success on the Hot 100 charts, peaking at number ten, and was heavily played on radio during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The group also paid tribute to Aaliyah with a performance of this song after her untimely passing in August of 2001.
Dangerously In Love
Written by Beyoncé Knowles & Errol McCalla Jr.
Dangerously In Love is a SONG!!! From a lyrical standpoint, the song is about being obsessed with the person you are romantically with. The song was re-recorded for Beyoncé’s debut album of the same name with minor instrumental changes.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles & Walter Afanasieff
Brown Eyes is an album CUT okay?! Bey wrote the song with Walter Afanasieff (who is more so known for his work with Mariah Carey,) and I truly believe it is one of Beyoncé’s best songs vocally in the DC days.
The Story of Beauty
Written by Beyoncé Knowles & Ken Fambro
The Story of Beauty is an upbeat record with very touching lyrics. Inspired by a letter from a fan who has experienced sexual abuse, the song uplifts women who have suffered from similar experiences.
Gospel Medley (dedicated to Andretta Tillman): You’ve Been So Good/Now Behold The Lamb/Jesus Loves Me/Total Praise
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Kirk Franklin & Richard Smallwood
What has become a tradition on DC’s records is that the penultimate song on the album is dedicated to the group’s former manager who passed (which was Andretta Tillman).
Outro (DC-3) Thank You
Written by Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Rob Fusari, Calvin Gaines & Bill Lee
The album closes with each of the members discussing their love and appreciation for each other.
Survivor was definitely a moment. It was the album that people would see if it would make and break the union, and it didn’t do anything but strengthen it. Out of all the girl groups, Destiny’s Child is the most beloved. 20 years later, the group has since disbanded, but is still one of the greatest musical trios of all time.
Their legacy as a trio stands the test of time, because quality and unity always wins. Survivor is one of those albums you just have to go back and appreciate the beauty and the genius of these women. It’s truly like they were meant to be. -MJ