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[i]Beyoncé's music has drawn on the language of space flight for years. As Forrest Wickman noted at Slate, Beyoncé includes a song called "Rocket," she sang "Lift Off" on Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne, and she suggested her hometown relationship to NASA on 2011′s "Countdown" when she sang, London speed it up, Houston rock it. She even recorded a wake-up call for the crew of the final shuttle mission, STS-135.
What the "XO" sample does isn't irreverent, nor is it irrelevant to the rest of the song. It does what all samples do: It alludes, quickly, to something its ideal listeners are presumed to already know about. Nesbitt's quote on Beyoncé doesn't mention the Challenger or even the space shuttle: It makes no sense unless you know it's meant to signify something terrible. Even the term "major malfunction," which entered common parlance after Nesbitt's broadcast, almost immediately drifted away from its context (notably, it popped up in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, set 20 years earlier).
"XO" is also far from the first time Nesbitt's commentary has been sampled. The first instance was Keith LeBlanc's "Major Malfunction," a dance track recorded only days after the Challenger exploded and released shortly thereafter — with a video featuring images of the catastrophe...[/i]
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