Beyonce

This column originally appeared in the Student Standard volume 1, issue 1 on the 12th February 2013.  The Student Standard is NUI Maynooth’s independent new source and can be read online here 

published here with kind permission of Keith Broni, editor of the Standard.

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Bank Holiday Tuesday 12th February 2013

Beyonce

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Another year, another Superbowl Sunday passed with me in bed early, not willing to stay up until 5AM watching the most excruciatingly boring sport known to man (Worse than Cricket, Curling and Lawn Bowls put together because AT LEAST those sports don’t stop for a little rest every every.  single.  Play) only for the faint promise of nine minutes of Beyonce that I could catch on YouTube the next day.  No, I experienced the superbowl the way I also experienced the Late Late show’s debate on marriage equality last week- tucked up in bed with a hot chocolate, following the proceedings via twitter.

Twitter is a great medium for experiencing telly, a crowdsourced annotated commentary of whatever happens to be on.  It’s basically watching highlights that are tailored to your own personal tastes- so in my case, the Superbowl coverage I saw was mostly ‘When’s Beyonce on?’ Then hysterical tweets when she actually did come on (SHE’S SO GOOD AT WALKING!) all about the dancing, the costume, the choice of song (‘Baby Boy?’ Really?  That song was lame back in 2004.  Come on Bey, do Bootilicious, come on-OH MY GOD THEY’RE DOING BOOTILICIOUS) and of course, the fact that Destiny’s child had ‘reunited.’ When really, all that happened was that Bey got her moderately famous backing singers back.  I always liked Kelly Rowland. She reached a minor solo peak around 2003 when I first got into pop music.  Sadface.  Oh wait, now they’re doing single ladies- I have to do Single ladies on this deadly silent train now, excuse me.

The Bey halftime show was a bit of an experience for me, watching it on my phone on the train to Maynooth Monday Morning.  It was when I finally sort of ‘got’ Beyonce.  We’ve long had a complicated relationship because she just doesn’t really have a lot of songs I can groove to.  Bootilicious and Single Ladies are aggressively good and that is Beyonce at her best.  Telephone is an over produced masterpiece of pop excess.  If I were a boy and her other break up jams always felt a bit flat to me.  It never really captures the actual pain of a break-up- they’re more like revenge dreams.  I’d theorise that ‘If I were a boy’ is really a dissing of the sort of casual misogyny  that’s common in most hip hop and rap.

Beyonce isn’t particularly titillating.  She’s too fucking scary to be titillating. Compare some of her earlier videos- writhing on  a beach because Sean Paul is just too hot to comprehend (note- it was 2004 after all) in baby boy, to the aggressive dominance of the Single Ladies dance.  Single Ladies is an aggressive, iconic song.  It’s not sensual- it’s a war cry.  She’s strong and she will fucking TRASH YOU in a song if you wrong her.  She’s not pandering to sexism so much as sticking a sharp heel through it.  Men do fancy her (note-I fancy her.  everyone fancies her. don’t lie.) but she’s not for a moment subservient to any man.  She consistently out-earns her husband.  All you need do to set off any woman born between 1980 and 1993 is to go up to her and ask earnestly ‘Kelly, can you handle this?’.  You will be treated to every woman in the vicinity shrieking the lyrics to ‘Bootilicious’ at the tops of their voices.

Which brings me to the title of her new tour- Mrs Carter.  Using her husbands name on her solo tour has been a bit… confusing to people who have always seen Beyonce as a strong independent figure.  Personally, I had actually forgotten Beyonce had a surname at all.  ‘Knowles’ sort of became redundant after Sasha Fierce came out- She’s reached Cher levels of ‘first name only’ recognition.  I had also forgotten Jay-Z had a surname either, in fact I just assumed they were monarchs and didn’t have a need for one, you know?  Privately, Bey and Jay apparently both hyphenate their names, going as the ‘Knowles- Carter’ family.  Bey has said publically that when she’s stressed, she likes to go make love to her husband to chill out.  She is one of the most athletic and accomplished dancers of our generation- I’d argue her choreography will define the dance of our generation in the same way Michael Jackson defined the 80s.  In the promo for this tour she’s dressed  in a Louis the XIV style leotard and a fur cape.  She’s Beyonce.  LADS.  She is Beyonce.  Beyonce is allowed name her tour whatever she wants.

Image (Beyonce for Pope)

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Niamh ‘I don’t think you’re ready for this Jelly’ Keoghan
@Keofunkel

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