The Era of Renaissance: Who Is Better?

By Caelyn Osbern

“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!”
This was followed by excessive booing, horrified looks, and a nineteen-year-old winning her first VMA who just stood in shock after being humiliated by what would be a future racist antisemite (Ye, formerly Kanye West); but that’s a story for another article.
What most people don’t know about that story, which made headlines and circled around the world, is that when Beyonce won an award later that night, she invited Taylor back up on stage to finish her speech. Both Taylor and Beyonce are the two most successful artists in the world right now, and despite how different their music is, people still find ways to compare them. Comparing women to each other when they are just coexisting brilliantly is frankly a bit old, and if you are feeding into it, I, unfortunately, feel a bit embarrassed for you, and how sad it must be to feed into “the 1950s ****” they want from you. I’d rather stay in that Lavender Haze, and have everyone comparing them on mute.
Many artists, namely Aretha Franklin, (according to people on the incredibly reliable app that is TikTok) said that Beyonce was the artist of our generation, not Taylor Swift. Well then, I have a question for those artists: How would you feel if I told you she went home with 9 VMA’s in one ceremony, is about to break the record of the highest-grossing tour of all time, got 35 thousand young people registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day, is under a month away from releasing her eleventh album, and has been performing for over 70,000 people a night?
Well, I’ll tell you one artist who isn’t mad about it: Beyonce. Unlike everyone else, Beyonce and Taylor like to tune out the world and just enjoy each other’s friendship. A quick Google search will show you plenty of pictures of Taylor and Beyonce together. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t seen much Taylor praise at the expense of Beyonce, but rather a lot of Beyonce praise at Taylor’s expense. I’ve seen people attacking her dance moves, her voice, her songs, pretty much anything they can get their hands on. However, I ask those people: how do you think Beyonce would feel about that? In case you missed the memo, your favorite artists don’t enjoy being compared, no matter how hard you feel the need to “defend” them.
Because people want to compare everything about them, I’m prepared to dispute all the misinformation on what I know best: music. To start, Taylor Swift is a Mezzo-Soprano/Alto in her recorded/live vocal range. Her range goes from an A2 (“cut to the bone” in Cruel Summer) to an F5 (This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things). In general, there is a hierarchy in vocals- Sopranos always being seen as better than their lower counterparts. Beyonce is a Soprano and practically lives in the fifth octave (Deja Vu live), but she’s known for her vocal riffs, commonly her Dubai Drunk In Love riff, which has been performed live at the Renaissance tour. Her highest note is an F6 which is whistle note territory. Now I can’t tell you which sounds better to your ear, but I can tell you that singing high and low are equally impressive, and both take a lot of work. People who don’t know much about things usually find great pleasure in sharing their opinions, but I can tell you one thing for sure: If you can’t hit an F6 like Beyonce or an A2 like Taylor, wait until the day you can before you have the license to compare the two.
If you tuned into the Grammys this year, you’ll remember former One Direction member Harry Styles won Album of the Year, among other awards. If you listened well, you might’ve gotten flashbacks to 2009 when some heckler in the audience shouted during Harry’s acceptance speech: “Beyonce should’ve won!” Upon hearing this, Taylor stood up in the audience, silently saying “I see you. You did deserve it.”
The level of disrespect you have to have to heckle someone accepting an award is a level of its own, but that’s a discussion for another time. What you do when you compare an artist to another artist does nobody any good, and you never see male artists being compared to other male artists. The Jonas Brothers as well as Drake are both on tour at the moment, however, I haven’t heard a word of comparison between the two. It’s almost like they’re separate artists who make different music that can both be loved and enjoyed by their respective fans- oh wait. Isn’t that precisely what Taylor and Beyonce do? Spoiler: it is.
The great thing about both Taylor and Beyonce is that regardless of what you say, they are booked, busy, and running our economy. Comparing Taylor to Beyonce gets you absolutely nowhere, and either way will have you attacked from the Beehive or the Swifties; because if there’s another thing we share, it’s our love for our artist. So why don’t we put that love out there in a positive way and cool it with the comparison. You can prefer an artist, but the nasty hateful comparison isn’t a very good color on you, and you should try putting some love on top or calming down (because you’re being too loud). I, personally, look forward to the day where we can admit goodness is subjective, and screaming “Beyonce should’ve won!” doesn’t get you any brownie points with the icon herself.