07 September 2006

The Alarm is Ringing

Hello, hello, hello! I'm back from Iceland, where Andrew and I celebrated our first anniversary. It was a perfect vacation, and I was able to buy a CD filled with Icelandic pop hits. I'll report on them ASAP.

For now, though, I'd like to discuss Beyonce. Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning may remember my previous entry on the former child of destiny. Now I have new reason to write.

Just watch this video, for her single "Ring the Alarm" :

When I first heard "Ring the Alarm," I was underwhelmed. To me, it sounded like generic hip-pop that was beneath a woman who created the jiggly masterpiece that is "Crazy in Love."

Then I saw the video.

Honestly, when was the last time you saw a pop star acting like that? We get posturing, yes, and plenty of sassy posing, but in this clip, Beyonce exudes fury. Her eyes alone could tear through the cheating man in queston. And watch her physicality on the line "you can't stay/you gotta go" (about 1 minute in). It's a simple finger wag, followed by a hand that brushes the air. But the cripsness of the movement, coupled with her unblinking glare at the camera, give it the authenticity of a spontaneous gesture, as though Beyonce were actually feeling the words of the song.

When the bridge comes--at about 2:48--she drops into a glaze-eyed sadness in which her face goes almost blank with despair. Instead of acting pissed off for the entire song, she shows range.

There's only so much depth you can show in three and a half minutes, of course, but Beyonce's commitment to her work bodes well for her upcoming turn in the film version of Dreamgirls. With "Ring the Alarm," she proves she has the chops to make lip-snyching much more than just mouthing along. I'll be very interested to see how she develops that skill over a full performance.

I'm also reminded how much a video can alter my perception of a song. I still don't think it's Beyonce's best, but now I can enjoy listening to the track, reminded of the video's vitality. In the fierce, staccato beat and in Beyonce's growling vocal, I can hear the emotion that inspires the visuals.

And it would be easy to say the song is at fault if it needs a video to make it listenable. However, I'm happy the video helped me discover something in the song that I wouldn't have heard otherwise. I'm happy to revise my stance on Beyonce. I may not enjoy everything she does, but I have to give her credit for doing some things better than her peers.



At 10:39 AM, Anonymous kalle said...

I'm sorry, but I couldn't hear the song, nor could I concetrate on Beyonces acting after the Basic Instinct interrogation scene rip-off in the beginning. It both made me wonder just HOW MUCH are they going to imitate that particular scene, and remind myself that they don't do that kind of stuff in pop videos, so just get over it dude. It was wildly distracting. Also, it made me feel less symphatetic towards Beyonce, because who knows how many people she had ice-picked to death...

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

A fair point. Personally, I like the Basic Instinct homage, but I can see how it would get in the way.

I do like how messed-up Beyonce's hair is in the BI scenes. Looking a little dishevelled sells the moment.


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