Destiny’s Child’s ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ Turns 15: Backtracking
Backtracking is Idolator's recurring look back at the pop music that shaped our lives. Our friends may come and go, but we’ll be spinning our favorite albums forever.
With the tremendous success of TLC and the Spice Girls in the mid-’90s, girl groups from all around the world began popping up like wildfire! Sure, there were acts like Blaque, All Saints, B*Witched, and En Vogue — but the biggest stars in town were the four young girls behind Destiny’s Child. The Houston, Texas-bred group achieved stateside popularity with their self-titled debut album, but it was their sophomore effort that propelled them to superstar status.
After the release of 1998′s Destiny’s Child (which went triple-Platinum), the quartet went back into the studio a year later and dug deeper into concepts of relationships and empowering women, themes that ultimately became the inspiration behind 1999′s The Writing’s On The Wall. Taking notes from TLC’s Fanmail (which was released just five months prior), Destiny’s Child formed this album as a “how-to” guide of sorts, as they taught women how to deal with no-good men and to go after what they want in life. Lead singer Beyonce had a heavy hand in the writing process, but all-star R&B producers and writers like Kandi Burruss, Missy Elliott, Rodney Jerkins and Daryl Simmons played key roles as well.
During this era, there were changing faces in the lineup, tension between members and their manager Mathew Knowles, and media speculation of them possibly going solo (we’re looking at you, King Bey). But throughout the drama, Destiny’s Child was able to create a solid R&B album that sounds just as fresh in 2014 as it did in 1999. In celebration of its 15th anniversary today (July 28th), we take a look back at a record that helped to inspire independent ladies worldwide!
While not completely a concept album, The Writing’s On The Wall is shaped around 14 “Destiny’s Child’s Relationship Commandments.” The girls interweave various mottos like “Thou Shall Not Hate,” “Thou Shall Pay Bills,” and “Thou Shall Not Think You Got It Like That,” which serve as the album’s theme. Kicking it off is the track “So Good,” a cheeky kiss-off to the girls’ haters that is written and produced by Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs and Kandi Burruss (the mastermind duo behind TLC’s “No Scrubs, ” Pink‘s “There You Go,” and multiple tracks on The Writing’s On The Wall). There is a thread of independence and confidence throughout the album, and it is evident that Destiny’s Child wanted to be a prime example for their young fans.