Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Much buzz (i.e. hating) has been circulating the internets about Mrs. Hov's upcoming double-disc release (titled I Am Beyoncé and I Am Sasha, set to drop November 18th) and her latest video clip for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."
Among the charges: B ripped off Bob Fosse (did anyone think to ask if the homage was on purpose? And as idolator points out, Fosse is not the only one who has been ripped off, I mean, imitated, in the world of music videos), B's bad girl alter-ego Sasha (who made her TV "debut" during the sizzling B/Prince duet at the 2004 Grammy Awards) could be akin to Garth Brooks' Chris Gaines (I won't even entertain that), B's website Who Is Sasha Fierce? is a poor choice for album hyping (don't get me started on how tame that is in comparison to most musicians' album hyping bullshit) and B is not progressing as an artiste, because "Single Ladies" sounds like "Get Me Bodied," one of the many solid gold hits off of B'Day (uh, the songs both have hand clap heavy beats and are up tempo dance jams, how terrible).
As those closest to me know, I consider Ms. Knowles to be the perfect example of the consummate performer: she can sing, she can write, she can produce, she can dance, she can act (decently enough anyways, and I am eager to see how she does in the upcoming Chess Records biopic Cadillac Records, where she stars as Etta James) she has class, she isn't a trifling gossip monger and above all, she entertains the shit out of her audience. There have been missteps (the video for "Check On It" comes to mind, it looked like a Playtex ad, "Cater 2 U" set back women's rights a few decades, but she redeemed herself with "Ring the Alarm" and before you say anything, her mother's poor wardrobe choices for Destiny's Child don't count as mistakes), but overall, her decade long career has been for the most part, enviable. Especially her solo career. But I am not all hot and bothered because I adore Beyoncé and am blind to her artistic short comings. I am annoyed because critics and general naysayers alike are missing the point. Fools are saying a double album could possibly "derail" her career and that it's a terrible decision. I'm sorry, what? Since when was taking a risk tantamount to ending your otherwise solid career? In my mind, Beyoncé is one of the last true pop stars standing: she respects the context in which she came from (Tina Turner, Diana Ross etc.) she is innovative ("Crazy in Love" uses the most bad ass horn sample of all time, from day one as a solo artist she was bringing the heat) she is sexy without being straight up foul (I mean, who else could make a song about their pussy and sound as sweet and catchy as B?) and she has a sense of humility and humor. All in all, she gives these little biddies a run for their pop star money. But all of a sudden, she wants to do a split personality project and her name's as good as Taylor Dayne's. So far, the two tracks that have been released, the aforementioned "Single Ladies" and the infidelity ballad "If I Were A Boy" (I imagine a lot of the ballads will be along the lines of the beautiful and somewhat disturbing "Resentment," B'Day's closer) have not unimpressed me in the slightest, and in fact, "Single Ladies" is my life. Watch the video and tell me she isn't having the most fun out of anybody making pop music right now. How much more fucking sassy can you get with a chorus that goes "if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it"? It's also a return to the straight up dance video. Just style for days: three chicks, black and white film, high cut leotards, stilettos and Bridget Bardot hair. And she's all sweaty and out of breathe at the end, laughing. This shit is some of the best self-esteem boosting post-relationship drama music out there, and if I Am Sasha is filled with "Freakum Dresses" and more "who the fuck you think you are, you ain't got it like that" anthems then sign me the fuck up. Girl, you my hero.
Sasha takes over, below.