Thursday, December 18, 2008


i am . . . . how can i put this gently . . . . completely bonkers about beyonce's newest record, I AM .... SASHA FIERCE. heck, i'm listening to it right now, and i've got goosebumps. see, right there on my arms, all the little hairs sticking out like i just got struck with a major bolt of static electricity. see that? but i didn't just get struck with static electricity; no sir, i got struck with beyonce's "halo", track two on disc one. shazam! goosebumps everytime! 

I AM .... SASHA FIERCE is a double cd set, you see. two discs. and each disc has a theme. the first disc (I AM...) is all slow, dramatic ballads. like the "halo." or like my other favorite track "disappear." it's playing right now. wait, here it comes, the build, the chorus, "when i think about it", and there go the hairs again. see? right there? all of them standing up. they do that everytime.

and then the second disc (... SASHA FIERCE) is all real catchy dance tunes. you may be familiar with the "single ladies" song, which just happens to be, as of 7:36 this morning, my new cellular telephone ringtone. these tracks appeal to beyonce's on-stage alter ego, who she affectionately refers to as "sasha fierce." i've got one of those, too. an alter-ego, i mean. only my "hamster" can't do that little booty shuffle thing that put beyonce on the map back in the day.  but, with this new ... SASHA FIERCE disc on repeat, my hamster is working on it.

personally, i'm only a little bonkers about the ..... SASHA FIERCE disc, but i'm hella crazy nutso bonkers about the I AM.... disc. i mean, don't get me wrong, i love the dance tracks off beyonce's B-DAY as much as the next guy; however, this time around, i'm feeling the ballads a little more. i'm right there with beyonce on her personal exploration of her own diva-ness. i've been on those treks myself. they can be dirty at times, even dramatic, and i applaud the lady for laying down her trek on these I AM... tracks. i'm telling you: goosebumps. 

alright, alright. i realize that i'm way off base here. this is a film site, not a record site. john and myles and i built this site as a place to talk about the movies that have shaped or not shaped the midnight hours of our life. we did not build this site to talk about records. and so, with that in mind, i will review beyonce's newest music video: "if i were a boy."

(sorry about the quality here. all the better videos had disabled embedding, by request. here's a link to a higher quality version.)

this is a great music video. and what i love most about this music video is its return to the dramatic story-telling structure, like in some of the better music videos from yesteryear. listen, i'm a simple man. i live a simple existence. and i live simple stories. thus, i need music videos, like these, that tell the simple stories of my life. these videos resonate with me. the stories they tell ring a bell of truth in me that i can relate to. for instance, i deeply connect with the new beyonce video in major ways: i drink coffee; i wear hats; i ride in cars; i've shot guns; i've been arrested; i pull my shirt over my head just like beyonce did in the beginning of this video. see, me and beyonce are not so dissimilar. 

also, i do think that beyonce gives us some great acting in this video. there are moments where we actually believe, according to beyonce's performance, that this beautiful black woman could actually fall in love with this skinny white guy. (again, autobiographical resonation - shazam!) but then, flip the coin at the end, and beyonce's performance takes us to a deeper place of hurt and rejection, particularly in those very simple headshots where she looks into the camera and, with darkened eyes, mouths the words into the camera. after having seen the video, i cannot help but see those darkened eyes everytime i listen to this track in my car. it's a masterful performance that proves haunting in its simplicity and raw emotion.

and, okay, i'll traverse this ground here with all of you. the role reversals in this video are shocking. purely shocking. there's something unexpected and unsettling about a woman skeezing her man, especially a good man who sits around fantasizing about the jewelry that he wants to purchase for her (resonation again). this is a far cry from earlier beyonce videos where the skeezing was a blatant action of the man (also a masterful performance, particularly when she pushes his forehead). and this typical male skeezement is what we expect, what we are - shall i say - comfortable with in pop artistry. therefore, depictions of a woman holding her partner's gun, turning off her cell phone at dinner, and having the audacity to get up on her man when he just saw her backing up on that white dude is beyond shocking: it's borderline repulsive. of course, as we see in the end, the skeezing was not on the part of the lady (beyonce would never skeeze), but on the part of the man who laughs in the face of her suspicions. that dude be a bitch. 
the gratuitous bra shot in the locker room is totally unnecessary, but welcomed. 

i give beyonce's "if i were a boy" music video 5 black dereon dresses out of 5. with singles like this coming off of record like that, we can only expect bigger and better things from beyonce knowles in the future.


Anonymous said...

i will have to watch the video later but i have to say that the song itself gets a 2 out of ten. basically, i think it stinks big-time, but again this was mostly about the video, so i'll give it a watch when on a computer that has a speaker.

the hamster said...

2 out of 8? well, that is your opinion.

say, how's the crack smoker's anonymous working for you?

the hamster said...

i meant, 2 out of 10. sorry.

say, do you wanna fight in the parking lot?

John Barber said...

I need eye bleach after viewing this review. Some things you can never unsee...