Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Beyonce is the Decade's Biggest Disappointment

We're gonna start doing our best-of lists for the decade pretty soon (some of have already started). So before I even start mine, I got one that'll make you kill me. And it starts with its biggest disappointment, Beyonce Knowles.

I think Beyonce is beautiful. I think she has a great voice and a good songwriter as far as making hits. But I also think her talent has been wasted by settling for the middle-of-the-road R&B that has been unmemorable and undistinguishable.

From 2000-2003, Beyonce was talked about as the future of the genre. She was writing more hits for Destiny's Child as they broke into the mainstream. "Say My Name" "Bootylicious" "Survivor" "Independent Women Pt. 1" ensured her as the creative force of the group and when the group disbanded, her solo career would make her even bigger.

Her first album "Dangerously in Love" saw her win five Grammys and had songs that showed her range. "Crazy in Love" is one of the best R&B singles of the decade, "Me, Myself and I" is still my favorite song of hers (inspirational), "Baby Boy" and "Naughty Girl" sounded like nothing else at the time.

The problem starts here. Her next album saw her release "Deja Vu" and "Ring the Alarm" - the latter was probably one of her strongest singles ever and it showed anger/passion/rage that could've taken in a new direction.

Problem is "Deja Vu" became the bigger hit and it sucked because it was pretty much "Crazy in Love" recycled with the Jay-Z verse only memorable for the Juan Pierre line. And that's where Beyonce took her career - the safe route. Nothing she released stood out to me.

It was a disappointment. She became superficial and started acting like a star in her music as opposed to a trend-setter. Alicia Keys and Rihanna surpassed her by making more ambitious music. Which is sad because Beyonce could've used her voice and creativity to set the trends.

She stole Ciara's idea ("If I Were a Boy"), talked about upgrading average guys, did the female version of "A Milli" but worse ("Diva"). She made hits but did they stick?? Ehhhh

"Irreplaceable" was Ne-Yo pretty much clowning females who talk about no-good men and end up finding "another you in a minute" instead of a different one. I like the alternative sound but the lyrics were shallow.

It says a lot when the biggest hit she's had since then was because she had one of the most creative videos in recent memory (or "of all time" if you ask Mr. West) and teamed with the most creative hitmakers in pop music. And that's Beyonce's problem. She could make artistic statements like that more often but doesnt.***

We all had high hopes that Beyonce would be the biggest R&B star of the decade. She might be and it feels like something is missing to me. Since her first album, how many songs will we really remember? She was supposed to be bigger than R&B but now, she's done more settling than the Prairie Wagons.

Maybe I'm too harsh. But maybe I just expected more from her. That's why she's the biggest disappointment to me. India.arie and Jill Scott stayed in their lane and made great music most never heard. Rihanna went from reggae to pop. Alicia is still unique for playing her music. And Beyonce played it safe.

*** that being said, she oughta win something for "Single Ladies" at the Grammys.

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