destiny's child

The last time we heard Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams together on one song was back in 2005 with “Cater 2 U,” Destiny’s Child‘s last single off of their fourth album, Destiny Fulfilled.

(Technically their last single together was “Stand Up For Love” from their #1’s greatest hits compilation, but literally no one remembers that–nor should they, really.)

And now, as quickly as the announcement came earlier this week that the trio would be releasing their slightly bizarre compilation Love Songs on January 29, the one and only brand new song from the album, “Nuclear,” has surfaced.

First, let’s level set:

+ This is not the next “Bills, Bills, Bills.”
+ This is not the next “Independent Women Part I.”
+ This is not the next “Bootylicious.”
+ This is not the next “Soldier.”
+ This is not the next “Lose My Breath.”

“Nuclear” is a Pharrell-produced song off of a catalog compilation, co-penned by Michelle Williams, James Fauntleroy and Lonny Bereal. And I’m loving it.

Why? Well, because it’s not trying to be anything. In fact, it’s not trying much at all: The melodies are smooth and laid-back, the production is dreamy and that drum loop is straight out of the early ’90’s R&B/pop songbook. (I heard a bit of Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock‘s Lyn Collins-sampling “It Takes Two” almost immediately. Billboard‘s Keith Caulfield also rightly picked up on the song’s similarity to Jade‘s 1992 single, “Don’t Walk Away.”)

Considering the slow resurgence of nu-soul in pop at the moment (Jessie Ware, Solange), it seems only too fitting for Destiny’s Child to slowly slide back into the scene with something sensuous and lush, as opposed to a full-on R&B-electro infused club banger. (We can safely assume Beyoncé’s upcoming record will provide plenty of that, anyway.)

“Nuclear” doesn’t play like a single, and if it’s released as such, it won’t do well. Nor, I suspect, will it translate on stage at the Super Bowl halftime show if that Destiny’s Child reunion’s really happening. But this isn’t meant to be a comeback track–it’s more like an undiscovered gem from their back catalog. (Lord knows, Bey’s got that vault handy.)

For now, it feels just right.