Following up on my recent post about the musical argument encapsulated in the viral social media photo above:
I picked up a copy of “Beyoncé,” gave it a couple of close listens, and can now confidently opine that anyone who would assume it to be the overproduced diva turn implied in the photo should perhaps hold off on further disparagement until you’ve heard it. That should go without saying, of course, but unfortunately, still needs to be said. And by the way, I’m no saint when it comes to hating on music I haven’t heard, so I know whereof I speak.
‘Cause the darned thing is absolutely fabulous. The songs, of course jam-packed with catchy hooks and grooves (please pardon me if I sound a little out of my comfort zone describing a genre I don’t spend much time with), are wide-ranging in tone and mood, rich in detail, and filled with surprising twists and turns. I was mesmerized from first note to last.
And at no time, not a single moment, did I find reason to give Beyoncé less than full credit for the music’s success. Yeah, she brought in plenty of collaborators — so what? In this case, a dozen or more cooks made for a very tasty and harmonious broth. But there’s no question who’s boss. Beyoncé is 100% front and center, sometimes while also simultaneously in midground, background, soaring over and underpinning the proceedings. Her vocal range is astonishing, and when I say “range,” I mean high-low, soft-loud, warm-cold, happy-sad and every-which-way. Here is a diva who’s got the goods, and deserves (I should say “has earned”) every bit of her acclaim.
One’s individual reaction to the highly (to say the least) sexual lyrics may vary, and even I had to detach a little at times to avoid blushing. But I’m not the album’s target audience; presumably more typical listeners would take them more in stride. I can say, however, that the character Beyoncé plays on the album (how much is really she I couldn’t say) is strong, aware, and in charge of herself. That’s a positive way for a young woman to portray herself, isn’t it?
So, here’s your chance to listen. If you don’t avail yourself of it, could I ask at least for a modicum of circumspection before offering your critical opprobrium (a nice way of saying “either listen or stfu”)?