Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Beyonce – Run the World (Girls)

It’s hardly “Sandcastle Disco”, though, is it?…


Katherine St Asaph: Beyonce hasn’t sounded this much like her old group in years. Part of it’s the “Lose My Breath” (or “Pon The Floor,” whatever) military beat, but even more than that, this reminds me of “Independent Women Part 2” (i.e. the one that isn’t a Charlie’s Angels ad). I could talk for hours on this: how it sucks that Beyonce needed to go all Benjamina Button on the title or add a dreamy “JK, hope my boyfriend don’t mind it” interlude, how DC’s “if you ain’t in love, I congratulate you” lyric sounds just as radical now as it did as to a nerdy 13-year-old girl. There’s also hours of talk in how Beyonce (and Pink, for that matter) have become the second-wave feminists to, say, Ke$ha or Nicki. But for now, I’ve got about fifty perfect melodic lines to hear, a pressing living-room dance engagement and a worldlet to run. See you in a few.

Jer Fairall: DESTINY’S CHILD REFERRED TO AS ‘FEMINIST ICONS’ WITH STRAIGHT FACE, snarked an Onion headline a decade ago, but it is to her credit that Beyonce has continued to make her admittedly reductive brand of female empowerment a constant theme. Still, I think I like her best in the moments where she either scales this perspective back to something as human-sized as “If I Were a Boy” or forgets herself just long enough to indulge in the delirious pleasures of something like “Check On It”. This is another Beyonce message song, basically, and the message is the exact one that we’ve come to expect from her, but this still wins some major points from me for the unusually non-materialistic “raise a glass for the college grads,” the enthusiastic way in which she reps “Houston Texas, baby!” and for how the martial drums and stuttering vocal distortion bits reveal how closely she’s been listening to her copy of Kala.

Asher Steinberg: These guys say it all. Just another episode in the never-ending vapidity of Beyonce Knowles, whose idea of a feminist empowerment anthem is saluting “all my girls that’s in the club rocking the latest/who will buy it for themselves and get more money later”.

Al Shipley: B has had a penchant for shrill, bombastic, attention-grabbing lead singles, ever since she and/or Destiny’s Child were big enough to command feverish anticipation with “Survivor.” This sure isn’t a homerun like “Crazy In Love,” but it’s also not even as overbearing as “Lose My Breath,” just kind of thin and ill-considered.

Jonathan Bogart: Nothing that reminds me of this can be bad.

Anthony Easton: Though she uses the word “girls”, this is about women, and its relentlessness is terrorizing. She connects secular power with motherhood, with education, and ties it all together with an all consuming H Rider Haggard-meets-Leni Riefenstahl line about devouring; how she cuts fucker from mother recentralises and emphasises the sheer excess of it all.

Doug Robertson: My head hurts after listening to this. It’s like every noise that Beyonce has ever heard is all happening at once, and unfortunately this surfeit of ideas ends up as an awkward cacophony. There’s about three amazing songs going on here, and it’d be better if they were allowed the space to breathe, rather than being crammed into one disjointed whole.

Martin Skidmore: Oddly reminiscent of Rihanna of several years ago, Beyonce gives us a dancehall number with beats like a military tattoo and another of her female empowerment lyrics. It’s a bit frantic, often raucous and stuttering, and I’m not sure it’s the best showcase for her powerhouse voice, but it’s kind of exciting too.

Chuck Eddy: The beat feels propulsive for a few seconds at the start (briefly reminds me of “Ass On The Floor,” sort of), then gets less so once all the pointless prog-hop changes set in. And I can see how those changes might be interesting in theory; in a perfect world, the operatic parts could flash me back to “Hocus Pocus” by Focus, and I’d find this audacious and hilarious. But Beyonce is her usual zero-personalty ice-queen self, and I’m bored.

Kat Stevens: Swizz and B join one of those musical collectives that bang dustbin lids together in the Blue Peter studio: cheerleader squad choreographers rejoice; feminists heave sigh; Kat remembers to dig out that great Fela Kuti/Swizz mashup of ‘Money In The Bank’ again.

Michaelangelo Matos: Oh, it’s “Pon de Floor” with Be’s usual one-womanist anthem sprinkles on top. Cute, but I’ll take that jabbering yip from the original over it anyday.

David Katz: The stuff of dream artist collaboration message board threads. “Pon de Floor” gets the dominating vocal performance it deserves. We get the radio-overplay payback for Katy Perry. Everyone’s happy ’til the summer’s last encore.

Alfred Soto: If she’s so sure, why remind us?

7 Responses to “Beyonce – Run the World (Girls)”

  1. I think you blew the link on the “these guys say it all.” I linked to this:

  2. “delirious pleasures of something like “Check On It”.”

    “Check On It”? Are you kidding me? “Check On It”????

  3. And “as human-sized as “If I Were a Boy””??? Beyonce doesn’t possess a single bone in her body that isn’t diva-sized and even if she did, the insultingly vapid misandry of “If I Were A Boy” is nothing to aspire to to begin with. I may have a lot of disdain for Beyonce and her persona but I’ll credit her this, she has far too much intelligence and confidence for her to convincingly sell a song as weak and stupid as “If I Were a Boy”?

  4. Which is why it took Reba Mcentire to sell it.

  5. I don’t know, I think Beyonce can be plenty vulnerable when she chooses to be, or when the vulnerability chooses. Exhibit A: “Sweet Dreams.”

  6. Oh she can! But until Reba’s cover I had dismissed it as a non-entity.

  7. I was a big Beyonce fan at the start of her career. Just not interested now.”Run the World Girls ” is hackneyed..
    The business world is very cunning.Its really manipulated by rich white men. This sort of stuff sells because it pretends to be empowering. IMHO Smart women see through it.
    That Beyonce has bought into the BS is sad.

    Feminism is sponsored by big business and is a weapon used by vested interests to divide and conquer. ESp Black people..
    Dont take my word for it research yourself. Every feminist I ever met was a full on Hater.

    I love my sistas and am saddened by misandry it is real and widespread. Though I am delighted to report more women are awake and know their brothers are not their enemies. Their enemies are those big corporate scumbags…enough…. Peace and One Love to All