While their new album title may be a cliché, in this case, Destiny's Child can be forgiven. After surviving soap opera headlines, lawsuits, firings, bickering, and all-around nastiness, this is one title that fits just right.
Powered as always by singer, writer, and producer Beyonce Knowles, the onetime quartet has been trimmed down to a trio, which includes longtime member Kelly Rowland and new recruit Michelle Williams.
Fiery rhythms dominate the new disc, which kicks in with the anthemic thunder of “Independent Women Part 1,” an arm-waving mega-hit that previously surfaced on the Charlie's Angels soundtrack. Knowles and company return to those woman-power themes repeatedly here, but there are other subtle and not so subtle messages surfacing throughout the rest of the disc.
The most blatant are the shots they fire at the “sleazy,” “freaky,” and “trashy” women in “Nasty Girl.” The song will undoubtedly trigger plenty of talk, but since Destiny's Child have occasionally succumbed to some provocative image-making techniques themselves, the posturing doesn't come across as very convincing. They don't let up though, and send an even stronger signal during an a cappella gospel medley late in the disc.
Musically, the often-surging electronic rhythms add plenty of punch to cuts like the rapid-fire title track and the downright kicking “Bootylicious,” the latter which features samples from Stevie Nicks' “Edge of Seventeen.”
Resilient throughout, “Survivor” makes the most out of the trio's turbulent year, as Destiny's Child bounces back against all odds.