not in our stars, but in ourselves
As you all know, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is one of the greatest humans currently alive. No performer since Michael Jackson has delivered such consistently excellent singing, dancing, and music videos – and as a big plus, she doesn’t have any gross rumors swirling around her. Because it’s Friday, and I have, shall we say, very few pressing things to do here at work, I present to you: my not-very-definitive ranking of those aforementioned music videos. This is my personal top ten, but I will say this: she never half-asses it in any of her videos. Sometimes her videos are weird, and sometimes the aesthetic isn’t quite to my liking, but she always brings her A game. Very few pop stars these days can say that.
Without further ado:
The thing about all her videos from her game-changing eponymous album is that she shot them (1) in secret, (2) while touring, and (3) on what had to have been a relatively scanty budget. They all have a sort of early-’80s, dawn-of-MTV feel – and I love it. Of course, her look here is very mid-’90s grunge – which is completely badass, especially when she does it.
Your sex life will not be the same after you hear this song, so if this is somehow your first time hearing it, YOU’RE WELCOME. Anyway, she could have just been filmed sitting reading the phone book, and the song would have carried everything; but she serves some serious visual plenitude, in terms of her outfits (if you can call them that) and lingering gazes at her body.
8. “Crazy in Love”
The video that started it all, at least as far as her solo career goes. It’s crazy indeed to think that this came out 12 years ago, and sure, it looks sort of dated – but the song continues to be great, and again – she brings it. The unique (shall we say) choreography, the outfit changes, the way she presents herself as a force of nature – it’s all here, right from the start.
As she’s matured, she’s become much more interested in incorporating different visual styles, and this is a pop-art feast. There’s some controversy, I think, about the video’s concept and imagery being lifted from another artist – and if true, that stinks, but…I mean, come on. They can’t beat this song. They can’t beat Bey’s dancing – while she was pregnant, no less.
The colors! The rollerskating! The innuendo! What’s not to love!!!
5. “Love on Top”
So simple, so retro, so light and lovely and wonderful. What’s with the Gaddafi hat? What’s with the lens flare? I don’t know! I don’t care! I just feel my heart filling with pure helium when I watch and listen, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
As much as I enjoy all Bey’s odes to Jay-Z, I think this is my favorite Beyoncé love song of all time. The first time I listened to it, I actually got choked up, because I’m a sap, and because it’s such a gorgeous expression of the deepest, purest love. And the video is a delight: all the vibrant colors and warmth of Brazil, where the Carters seem to be very happy guests.
If this video didn’t blow your goddamn mind, you’re lying to yourself. There she is, goofing off in her underwear, filming herself with her phone, singlehandedly igniting the selfie stick craze (not that I support the craze, but it exploded after this video, didn’t it?), and making it all look like the easiest thing in the world. I know it can’t have been – but gee whiz, she makes it look like it’s nothing at all.
2. “Why Don’t You Love Me”
This video is my aesthetic. Everything about it.
1. “Grown Woman”
The best, hands down. I love the old VHS footage. I love the pageant dress and tiara with the tumbler of whiskey. I love the African dance break. I love the crazy dreamscape at the end. I love the ~*~message~*~~. I love EVERYTHING.
Now, lest you think she’s all smoke and mirrors, here are some especially great live performances – just for free, just because I love you.
“End of Time”
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
“Sex on Fire” (taking a mediocre song and elevating it to soaring new heights)
And the ultimate, the greatest: the Superbowl Halftime Show. No one else will ever approach this level of greatness. Bow down, bitches.