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Beyoncé Is Probably Not Your Anti-Capitalist Savior

The new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now discusses “Break My Soul” and more

Brian Hiatt Jun 29, 2022

Mason Poole/A.M.P.A.S./Getty Images

“I just quit my job,” Beyoncé sings — in character, of course — on her new, house-influenced single “Break My Soul.” “They work me so damn hard/Work by nine, then off by past five/And they work my nerves/That’s why I cannot sleep at night.” Numerous fans on Twitter and elsewhere got excited — perhaps too excited — and declared it an “anti-capitalist anthem.”

But as Mankaprr Conteh points out on the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, it’s quite unlikely that Beyoncé — a monumentally successful artist and businesswoman whose husband has, needless to say, also seen more than his share of capitalist triumphs — has turned against the economic system in which she’s thrived. (To hear the whole episode, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or press play above.)

“I think that’s a stretch,” Conteh says. “It’s nice to think that Beyoncé is a voice for the everyday person who is struggling to make ends meet or struggling to thrive in a job that they may not love. But it just feels very far from reality.” In the same song, Beyoncé sings a line about “building my own foundation,” which sounds more like an endorsement of entrepreneurship than anything else.

The discussion also touches on the intensely vague British Vogue description of Beyoncé’s upcoming album Renaissance — “soaring vocals and fierce beats combine… music that makes you rise” — and why the accompanying photo shoot is probably more informative about her direction.

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Also in this week’s episode, Jeff Ihaza breaks down Drake’s new album, and Rob Sheffield weighs in at Paul McCartney’s legacy in the wake of his 80th birthday.

Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts), and check out three years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, Gary Clark Jr., and many others — plus dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters. Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. ET to hear Rolling Stone Music Now broadcast on SiriusXM’s Volume, channel 106.

From Rolling Stone US.

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