The world waits with bated breath to hear what is to become of the relationship between America's pop culture monarchs, Beyonce and Jay Z. Will they stick together or will they get a divorce and break the hearts of celebrity news junkies everywhere? We continue to be left in the dark, but take heart, my fellow Beygency members, for all is not lost. A divorce may mean heartbreak for Queen B, but it could be a boon for her career.
Think about: Beyonce seems to be at the creative peak of her career. Not only did her last album, the self-titled Beyonce, explore a much greater range of music styles, but lyrically she showed much more confidence in her sexuality. Meanwhile, no matter how big of a Jay Z fan you are, he pretty much peaked with The Blueprint in 2001, and while he's still a talented musician, his past three albums haven't been quite as good as his earlier work. While Beyonce and Jay Z's husband-wife collaborations have created from great songs, now most people I know fast forward through Jay Z's verse on "Drunk in Love." The end of a Beyonce and Jay Z marriage may mean an end to their collaborations, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Beyonce feeling the freedom to collaborate with other artists besides her husband and his proteges may produce better work than ever before. And if the sensual self-confidence of "Blow" is what we get from married feminist Beyonce, imagine what kind of songs she'll come up with when she's a single lady for real.
But of course, Beyonce is a pop star. And the democratic blandness of pop music dictates that it's not important how good her next album is, but how many people buy it. So how will a divorce affect how her music sells? Since this is the Internet, and it's not real until you can put it in a list form, I looked to history to answer that question in the form of a list. The conclusion? Sometimes, heartbreak can lead to a huge artistic breakthrough, although that doesn't necessarily translate to album sales. But more often, a divorce can lead to a breakdown in a pop star's career, which can seriously hurt album sales. Will Queen Bey's career go the same way as these pop divas?
The divorce: Kevin Federline
The post-divorce album: Blackout
The sales: 1,000,000 in the U.S., her lowest album sales to that date
The divorce: Sean Penn in 1989 and Guy Ritchie in 2008
The post-divorce albums: Like a Prayer and MDNA
The divorce: Russell Brand
The post-divorce album: Prism
The sales: 1,100,000 in the U.S. to date, close to the sales of her previous album, Teenage Dream
The divorce: Jordan Bratman
The post-divorce album: Lotus
The sales: 204,305 in the U.S., her lowest selling album to date
The divorce: Tommy Mottola
The post-divorce album: Rainbow
The sales: 2,968,000 in the U.S., her lowest selling album to that date