Can ratpag get off-topic for a minute? The title of this post was buried deep in an article about Tavi Gevinson, which should be a hint that at least one of us at ratpag is female. And that makes Beyoncé-bashing OK, so you’re not allowed to get mad. Ready? Because this needs to be said: she is the Airbus A330 of entertainment. Totally adequate, consistent, tries hard, but is really boring when you think about it. That 16-minute medley performance to close out the VMA’s? Totally adequate and not at all exciting, and here’s a few reasons why.
- Strobe lights play horribly on television.
- Her backup dancers show her up. We’re talking mainly about the French duo Les Twins who had a couple features during the song. Sure, they can’t sing, and if they could it would probably be some awful French dance music where everyone hops around and it takes both Pharell Williams AND the better half of Chic to make it remotely listenable. But these guys can dance. Watch them destroy an unsuspecting and kind of sad crew from Atlanta. Les Twins are the 6’4″ guys with great hair.
- She growls to signify intensity. This is the hallmark of most webcam singers and American Idol second-rounders. It’s tacky, and we hate it. She does it because she sings at full intensity on the first verse, then has nowhere to go on the last chorus except for the growl. There are other singing problems, best summarized in this critique:
Upper belts can be perceived as shouting, and can also sound shrill without vibrato. The voice loses some clarity in lower notes in live settings. Her lack of unique tone leads some to brand her as “boring.”
- Those quotes around “boring” are unnecessary.
- Fake feminism. Flavorwire puts it well. On “Flawless”:
You’ll have heard part of this before, as “Bow Down,” but now the “Bow down bitches” refrain is counterpointed by a long monologue from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who speaks eloquently about how the world sets women in competition against one another and how they’re taught to “shrink themselves… to make themselves smaller.” And LITERALLY A MINUTE LATER, Beyoncé is singing “This diamond, flawless/ My diamond, flawless… God damn, say I, I look so good tonight.” . . . as a demonstration of how hollow Beyoncé’s patented brand of “modern day feminism” is, you couldn’t do much better: her version of empowerment, such as it is, is based on a sort of inherent conservatism, rooted not in compassion and generosity, but instead in materialism, braggadocio, and inescapable narcissism.
- The author of that piece half-apologized after getting ripped on Twitter by Beyoncé fans. Now that’s just depressing.
- She has a vault to preserve her every utterance. We didn’t believe it either, but from a profile of her in GQ. I think even Obama’s biographers would be like, “woah, that’s probably too much information.”
[A] long, narrow room that contains the official Beyoncé archive, a temperature-controlled digital-storage facility that contains virtually every existing photograph of her, starting with the very first frames taken of Destiny’s Child, the ’90s girl group she once fronted; every interview she’s ever done; every video of every show she’s ever performed; every diary entry she’s ever recorded while looking into the unblinking eye of her laptop… [it] also contains thousands of hours of private footage, compiled by a ‘visual director’ Beyoncé employs who has shot practically her every waking moment, up to sixteen hours a day, since 2005… The labeling, date-stamping, and cross-referencing has been under way for two years, and it’ll be several months before that process is complete.
- Her songs about sex just remind us of Jay-Z having an orgasm. I’m amazed this isn’t mentioned more often. All those songs where she’s talking about grinding and swerving and surfing and being the perfect woman, those were all written about this guy.
He seems nice enough, but they have got to be one of the most mismatched couples in the looks department. She’s top five right now, cover of SI Swimsuit Issue, whatever other metric for hotness you want to use. Jay Z is maybe one of the ugliest guys in entertainment today. Easily bottom 50. So the next time you listen to Dance for You, remember that she’s “dancing” for Mr. Carter, and he’s making this face.
Stay tuned for part two where we discuss point-by-point why Rihanna is superior!