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Beyoncé Knowles is not only one of the best-selling musical superstars of her generation but one of the most admired as well. She began her career at a very early age, looking to her parents for support and mentorship. Then, in her late teens, she dominated the business as a member of Destiny’s Child. Eventually, Knowles launched a hugely successful solo career, releasing hit song after hit song. 

While Knowles has received a lot of critical praise over the years, she’s also gotten some negative reviews. In 2014, following the release of her “Pretty Hurts” song and music video, some critics had a lot to say about the message and lyrics in the song.

Beyoncé released her song ‘Pretty Hurts’ in 2014

beyonce music video
Beyonce attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for

By the time Knowles was working on her fifth studio album in 2013, she was already a huge star in the music world. Fans eagerly awaited the results of her artistry. The resulting self-titled album didn’t disappoint. Its third single, “Pretty Hurts,” hit the radio in early 2014, making an impact immediately. The song, which Sia, Knowles, and Ammo wrote, was initially written by Sia for Katy Perry, according to ABC News. Eventually, the tune made its rounds, with both Rihanna and Knowles clamoring to record it.

Knowles won the bidding war. And “Pretty Hurts” quickly became associated with the singer’s fondness for self-empowerment anthems. The song contains messages about society’s high beauty standards and references eating disorders as well as the importance of self-love and body acceptance. The music video for the song also featured some cutting commentary about beauty standards, with scenes of Knowles competing in a beauty pageant.

Some critics slammed Beyoncé for being ‘hypocritical’ with ‘Pretty Hurts’ music video

Knowles worked hard to further the larger conversation around the song “Pretty Hurts,” inviting fans to share photos of what “pretty” means to them by tagging photos on social media. But not everyone was on board with Knowles’ message — or specifically, her delivering it. In a review of the album in Paste Magazine, a critic slammed the tune. They wrote that the song “opens the album with didactic rhetoric without the grace of subtlety, with its repeated conclusion that the ‘soul needs surgery,’ hardly a poetic payoff that listeners deserve.”

The critic went on to slam deem the artist’s message as hypocritical. They wrote,”this opener, and other moments where she preaches a similar message, can be seen as hypocritical, particularly when considering her recent tour, which sees itself struggle to maintain momentum through repeated stops in the action, ostensibly to change costume and freshen up makeup and hair.”

Beyoncé continues to release powerful songs like ‘Break My Soul’


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Even if some critics weren’t sold on Knowles’ delivery of the song “Pretty Hurts,” many fans loved her impassioned words. And in the years since, the singer has released several more power ballads with strong messages of social justice. Her single, “Break My Soul,” released in June 2022. The song includes lyrics such as “I just quit my job/I’m gonna find new drive/Damn, they work me so damn hard/Work by nine/Then off past five/And they work my nerves/That’s why I cannot sleep at night.”

The energetic track has fans up in arms and ready to make a difference in their own lives. Certainly, if there’s one thing Knowles excels at, it’s connecting with her fans through the power of music.