“Great girl groups exist now, look at King for example; the labels need to go back to hiring record people not lawyers or accountants, and some of the great female talent will get more light,” Paul Stewart, a music executive recently ranked by Complex as one of the 25 best hip hop A&Rs in history, tells theGrio. “I totally blame a lack of talent on the A&R label side as to why no big girl groups are currently happening. [You need] great songs and pretty people – not much has changed. These idiots that run the labels just think girl groups aren’t hot.”
Destiny’s Child formed in 1990, achieving commercial fame years later with the release of their now eight-time platinum-selling second album, The Writing’s on the Wall, in 1999. They followed it with their third album, Survivor, in 2001, which went quadruple platinum and continued their hot streak. Nevertheless, they disbanded in 2002 only to briefly unite again in 2004. To date, they have sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
But of course Destiny’s Child wasn’t the first of its kind. Rather the trio succeeded a long line of talented girl groups that stepped out during that era. The 90’s saw the rise of R&B collectives like SWV, 702, Xscape, TLC, En Vogue, and Jade. They were a crazy, sexy, cool amalgamation of pop, soul, R&B and even gospel-tinged singers, telling the story of female camaraderie, heartbreak and independence. And they were racking up accolades as well. During its run, TLC accumulated 10 top ten singles, four number one singles and four multi-platinum albums, for instance. They won four Grammy Awards and were nominated for 10 others.
Though the momentum behind girl groups stayed high until the early 00’s, it soon took a notable fall. Following the official end of Destiny’s Child in 2004, few groups have come around who can fill their sparkling heels.
“The earlier groups like SWV and En Vogue still had more of a connection to the truly great American soul/R&B movement of the 60’s and 70’s,” Stewart comments. “The late groups like Destiny’s Child and Xscape were more influenced by more current pop sounds. I would say all these groups were successful due to good songwriting and a marketable image – sexy women out front. It will come back; music trends always cycle.”
Stewart adds, however, that the alleged reunion of Destiny’s Child will likely be for but a moment.
“Their time is over,” he says. “We need newer, fresher groups.”
Regardless, the rumored event this weekend has fans, DJs and journalists buzzing with all kinds of speculation, creating top ten lists and throwback photo spreads from the girl group days of yore. Vulture reminisces about “the good ol’ days, when harmonies went from four part to three, outfits matched perfectly without being identical (shout-out to Tina Knowles!), and Kelly Rowland rocked a pixie cut,” in its list of Destiny’s Child’s 25 greatest songs. Meanwhile a reported set list from the girl’s Super Bowl act has also been circulating.
“Beyoncé’s reunion with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child at the Super Bowl is almost — if not more — anticipated than the big game itself,” notes PopCrush writer Jessica Sager.
Will it be “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Survivor,” or straight Beyoncé? The truth will soon be revealed.
Follow Courtney Garcia on Twitter at @courtgarcia