First Listen: “Be Alive” by Beyoncé

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Beyoncé is back! Sort of. Today, she finally released “Be Alive,” the hotly anticipated theme song from King Richard. The film stars Will Smith and tells the story of how Richard Williams, father to tennis legends Serena and Venus, helped his daughters on their paths to greatness.

To nobody’s surprise, there is already Best Original Song buzz surrounding the track; could this be the song to land Beyoncé her long-coveted Academy Award? Written and produced by Beyoncé and Darius “DIXSON” Scott, “Be Alive” looks like it could be her surest shot since Dreamgirls. Read our staff’s first thoughts below.

Beyoncé, “Be Alive” Staff Reactions

It’s always a pleasure to hear Beyoncé’s crisp, clean vocals telling the story of Black excellence and perseverance. The track, with its thumping marching beat and the organic production, is very simplistic, but it is effective in making the vocals and message shine. The harmonies and the backing vocals provide an echoing choir to complete the scene. This is definitely Beyoncé’s most melodic song in a while, catchy and to the point. If there is Oscar buzz, it’s well deserved. —Mario M.

From the clip in the film trailer, I was expecting a bombastic anthem filled with dramatic, theatrical orchestration and a showcase of Beyoncé’s vocal prowess. “Be Alive” only delivers on half of that. The version released today is stripped of the orchestral score found in the film trailer, leaving behind a beat that’s bare, but filled with bravado. Beyoncé’s vocals here are perhaps more authentically emotive than ever before. She sings from her gut, letting her soul and electrifying vocals carry the track. Lyrically, it boasts a moving message of empowerment that’s on-brand and as inspiring as ever. Still, the song feels like an impassioned march toward a finale that never comes. Perhaps there is a “film version” on the way to really bring the song to life. Time will tell. —Vincent Anthony

Listen to Beyoncé’s “Be Alive”

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