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Jan 28 2009

Beyoncé is bad for my blogging…

Okay, so I’ve been trying to write a new entry for three days now, but every time I go to log in to my blog editor I get distracted by the Beyoncé video in my last post! And not just because I have a little “thing” for Ms. Knowles, but because I LOVE the song more every time I hear it.

Folks reading this from the US (or anywhere else outside of Scandinavia, frankly) are probably wondering if I’ve been living in a cave for the last three months, because “Single Ladies” was originally released in October along with the bit-too-whiney-for-my-taste ballad “If I Were a Boy”, and it continues to be a HUGE hit over there. But Swedish commercial radio hasn’t discovered “Single Ladies” yet, which is really strange given the medium’s love of dance tracks. (Fantastic in a club when you’re slightly tipsy and getting your groove-moves on, but somewhat monotonous when you’re sitting in your car.)

At any rate, my new favorite song that everybody else on the planet has already heard has this infectious refrain that’s been described as an anthem for anyone who has had to cut themselves loose from a commitment-phobic partner (“if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it”), with Beyoncé doing both the main vocal and backing harmonies to glorious effect. What’s slightly less obvious is that she essentially sings then entire song acapella, the only instrumental contribution comes in the form of a synthesized bass line (of about four notes, I think) that runs under the refrain and the bridge. Everything else is just percussion and sound effects…not that Beyoncé needs much more than that, quite frankly.

The video, which is something of a phenomenon on it’s own (I dare you to search YouTube for it if you have a couple of free hours), isn’t getting much play on MTV Europe, either. In fact, prior to posting it here, my only exposure to it was a parody of the dancing on Saturday Night Live a few weeks back (we don’t see that show until several weeks after it airs in the US). But at that time, I hadn’t even heard the song yet…so the full impact of Justin Timberlake prancing around in a black leotard and high heels was somewhat lost on me.

But it’s the dancing that makes the video completely mesmerizing. The simplicity of the set (just Beyoncé in a stark white room with two other dancers) makes the routine really stand out, and the precision of these ladies is remarkable, especially since it appears as though the majority of the video was filmed in one continuous shot. In addition to Beyoncé’s signature bounce, there are acknowledged nods to the great Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse, as well as elements of jazz, tap and hip-hop, and a high-energy dance style I’d never heard of before called j-setting. I swear I see something new in it every time I watch it…and I watch it ALOT.

And as soon as I’m done being obsessed with it, I promise I’ll blog about something else!

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Feed my ego!

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