NYT reviews Beyonce's 'Life Is but a Dream'
Another Cog in the Machinery of Divahood
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
There are plenty of great performers who can be likened to Beyoncé, but Nina Simone isn’t one of them.
Diana Ross, Madonna and Whitney Houston all come to mind. Yet Simone, a pained chanteuse in exile with a cult following and only one Top 20 hit (“I Loves You, Porgy”), is the sole predecessor Beyoncé mentions in “Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream,” an autobiographical documentary on HBO on Saturday night. Beyoncé is the star and also its executive producer, narrator, co-writer and co-director.
“I think when Nina Simone put out music, you loved her voice,” Beyoncé says in the program. “That’s what she wanted you to love. That’s what — that was her instrument.” She refers to a simpler time in the recording industry but glosses over Simone’s very public profile in the civil rights movement. “But you didn’t get brainwashed by her day-to-day life and what her child is wearing and who she’s dating and, you know, all the things that really — it’s not your business, you know? And it shouldn’t influence the way you listen to the voice and the art. But it does.”
And that rumination is a curiously tone-deaf moment in a film that is supposed to be an étude of self-discovery. For while it is true that Simone performed long before pop-music success was so dependent on appearance and the apparatus of fame, it is Beyoncé‘s mastery of that very apparatus, more than her voice, that rocketed her into the stratosphere.
That’s just one instance in this gauzy, stylish and utterly opaque film that comes off less as an autobiography than a song-and-dance defense brief. There are no witnesses testifying on Beyoncé‘s behalf — she is almost the only person in the film who speaks more than a few words — nor is there any obvious reason someone as popular, recognized and financially rewarded as Beyoncé would feel misunderstood, yet the intent is clear.
This superstar has summoned all her formidable strength, charm and self-discipline to prove that she is, beneath it all, a fragile artist buffeted by the winds of fate and hyperfame.
She makes the point over and over, usually into the camera of her laptop, which she uses as a diary. “Stop pretending that I have it all together, and if I’m scared, be scared, allow it, release it, move on,” she tells herself. She adds softly, “I think I need to go listen to ‘Make Love to Me,’ go make love to my husband.” (That would be Jay-Z.)
Show business, like the weather, seems victim to climate change, and Beyoncé is an extreme diva, a megastorm of talent, drive, beauty and marketing. The film comes to television just as the tsunami of her performances at the presidential inauguration and the Super Bowl are ebbing, and just before the start of a world tour to promote her fifth solo album. The sun never sets on the Beyoncé empire: This pop star, whose face is on Pepsi cans, L’Oreal billboards and the covers of GQ, Vogue and Forbes, will also be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on OWN on Saturday night.
The documentary may seem like just another publicity way station, but it is as telling about the current temperature of pop music as “Madonna: Truth or Dare” was about the late 1980s and early ’90s. Madonna perfected the art of brazen exhibitionism and arch defiance, turning her cheeky monomania into a manifesto of female empowerment. Beyoncé‘s self-portrait is also a declaration of independence, but sung in a more pleasing, feminine key, answering the critics rather than scorning them.
She opens with an elegiac look at her happy suburban childhood in Houston, then quickly gets to her domineering father, who is no longer her manager. She generously skips over his excesses and focuses on her own sadness, which led to a song about the breach between father and daughter, which she sings soulfully at the piano, alone in a darkened room.
- She talks a lot about her creative process. “When I’m recording in the studio I want to close my eyes and feel,” she says. “I don’t want to hear your opinion. I don’t want to hear you say, ‘Well, maybe you should put more song structure.’ I don’t want to hear any of that. I’m truly an artist in the studio.”
The focus is on her music career, with almost no reflection on her movies, not even “Dreamgirls,” perhaps because Jennifer Hudson was the real star — and Oscar winner — of that one. There are brief flashbacks to Beyoncé’s early days, including her time with Destiny’s Child; longer, dazzling glimpses of Beyoncé in concert; and many scenes in which she is alone, talking into her computer and looking lovely and luminous without makeup.
No moment in her life seems to have gone unrecorded. In a recent GQ cover profile, the interviewer described at length the Beyoncé archive, a vast digital-storage room that contains almost every public and private image of her ever made.
The film doesn’t get to the hard backstage work and grueling physical training in her life until later. In hindsight the rehearsal she chose may inadvertently help explain why she sang along to her prerecorded vocal track of the national anthem at the inauguration last month.
In the documentary Beyoncé and her team were preparing for her appearance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards to introduce a new album, something went wrong, and they were locked out of their rehearsal space, a setback that her team treats like an aborted NASA launching. (In one small and quite charming shot she practices a dance step in a hotel corridor.)
“Because we lost a day of rehearsals we never got a chance to do it right,” she says. But she did, triumphantly: “Billboard was a huge artistic gamble. But the urge to get my message out was so overwhelming, I didn’t even pay attention to the risk I was taking.”
In her pre-Super Bowl news conference to explain why she did not sing live at the inauguration, Beyoncé explained that she relied on a recording of her own voice because she didn’t have time to rehearse with the Marine Corps Band properly. The event, she pointed out, was about President Obama; she saved her rehearsal time for the Super Bowl halftime, which was pretty much all about Beyoncé.
She talks a lot about her love for Jay-Z and her joy over their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, and doesn’t go into the fuss about the child’s birth in an “executive suite” at Lenox Hill Hospital, where a father complained that the celebrities’ security guards blocked him from visiting his own newborn.
She does speak quite a bit about her sorrow over her first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage, and plays part of a song
that loss inspired, which she calls “the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life.”
The program provides a lot of personal information, and Beyoncé addresses that too: “I always battle with: How much do I reveal about myself? How do I keep my humility? How do I keep my spirit and the reality? And how do I continue to be generous to — to my fans and to my craft? And how do I stay current? But how do I stay soulful? And it is the battle of my life. When I walk into a stage I’m able to come out of my shell and be as fabulous and over the top and strong and powerful as I want to be.”
“Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream” is as contrived as “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” but probably for good reason it is neither daring nor entirely truthful. It’s an infomercial, not just about Beyoncé’s talent onstage but her authenticity behind the scenes. She is a people-pleasing diva and she wants to keep it that way.
This documentary doesn’t really convey what life as a celebrity is like, but it does say a lot about how this celebrity would like to be seen.
- She's not that interesting nor a great talent
- "Humility?" "Soulful?" "Spirit?" "Art?" "Nina Simone?" Heifer, please.
She throws those terms and names about as if she knows what they mean. She doesn't .
Fuck, that vapid child needs the Col. Jessup lecture:
[quote]We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline…
- Pretty can't fix stupid.
- She seems dumb and humorless.
- "when I walk INTO a stage" "and how do I continue to stay generous to- to my fans and my CRAFT?" Indeed. How do she do it? Kudo's to the NYT reviewer. Rex Reed could take a lesson.
- [quote]Simone, a pained chanteuse in exile with a cult following and only one Top 20 hit (“I Loves You, Porgy”), is the sole predecessor Beyoncé mentions in “Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream"
Bullshit. Bey also mentions Janet and Tina Turner, as two performers she looked up to as a little girl. You'd think the NYT would have gotten it right.
- Beyonce's "I want to be independent" stance and breakaway from her father as her manager is identical to Janet's career path in the mid-'80s.
- Beyonce is a whore who married a thug. Nothing more.
- Last night, two space aliens sat down on a couch and drooled at each other in a pantomime of human interaction on Oprah's Next Chapter. For an unilluminating hour Oprah Winfrey surrendered her usual alpha role probably because that was part of Beyoncé's intergalactic rider. With the big, timely but ultimately fluffy interviews, Oprah tends to endlessly ass kiss, but this was over the top even for her. She referred to Beyoncé as the "preeminent queen of the universe," praised Bey's small number of cell phones and unleashed a string of adjectives to praise Beyoncé's anti-exposé of an HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream, which ran immediately after. In Oprah's estimation, the film is "familiar, unfamiliar, exciting, exhilarating, riveting and personal and intimate and empowering."
Oprah made only one vague reference was made to the backing-track/lip-synching Inauguration scandal, when really what we could have used was someone looking Beyoncé in the face and discussing whether it matters at all that she was singing if it wasn't what most of America (i.e. virtually everyone except for Beyoncé) heard. Whatever. Pop culture moves on, asses need kissing.
- The clip on the Gawker site is hilarious. Does Oprah let her answer ONE question without interrupting? It is clear that she doesn't know what "crux" means and had that deer in headlights look on her face. Oprah jumped right in and answered the question for her, robbing of us seeing anything remotely real about this walking wig and just how dumb she really is. The longer the interview went on the more Oprah started to look and sound like Kathy Bates in Misery. Gods and Media Made Monsters should have been the name of this very special edition of Oprah's Next Chapter.
- I never realized how not pregnant Beyoncé might have been until the Saturday premiere of her HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream. Since announcing her pregnancy at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards (in August of that year), there have been naysayers, referred to with tongue in cheek as "Beyoncé birthers." There was that footage of her apparently pregnant belly folding in on itself when she made an appearance on Australian TV in the fall of 2011. Months later, Beyoncé addressed it with a pithy explanation: "It was a fabric that folded - does fabric not fold? Oh my gosh, so stupid."
Life Is But a Dream covers a...period of time before the supposed birth of Beyoncé and Jay-Z's daughter, Blue Ivy. It's hard to say exactly how long because particulars like where and when are barely telegraphed – there's not a single explanatory chyron in the entire film. Cynically, I wonder if this is a sign of co-director Beyoncé's egocentrism; she assumes that we've been following her closely enough to know what she's talking about without bothering to explain certain key facts. Or maybe she thinks we can read her mind. Or maybe she's just not that great of a memoirist.
Regardless, it makes sense that given the time examined, Beyoncé's movie would chronicle Beyoncé's pregnancy and the controversy it birthed. The problem with Life Is But a Dream's treatment of her pregnancy isn't that it protests too much – it protests too weirdly. We never see a full, clear shot of Beyoncé's pregnant, swanlike body. Instead it's presented in pieces, owing to the limitations of her Mac webcam. When her body is shown in full, it's in grainy, black and white footage in which her face is shadowed.
Why, though? If you're going to present an image of your pregnant self to prove the naysayers wrong, why do it in such an obscure way? Why bother? The footage seems to exist to be described as "beautiful." Is it just art, or more lies?
That question could apply to the whole of Life Is But a Dream, in which the notoriously tight-lipped Beyoncé consciously unveils parts of her life and, in the process, reveals nothing. On firing her father, Matthew Knowles, as her manager, she says, "It was a stressful, sad, difficult time." Gee. Imagine. On her general feelings, she says, "If I'm scared, be scared, allow it, release it, move on." On her humanity, she says, "I know that people see celebrities, and they seem like they're so perfect - they seem like their life is so great, and they have money and fame. But I'm a human being. I cry. I'm very passionate and sensitive. My feelings get hurt. I get scared and nervous like everyone else." This last quote, by the way, came from a video message she recorded for journalists attending a listening session for her I Am...Sasha Fierce album in 2008. Prefab on top of prefab.
Much like in Madonna's Truth or Dare, there is a great sense of performance in Life Is But a Dream. Beyoncé Knowles is Beyoncé Knowles. But unlike Madonna, who got off on being bad and pushing buttons, Beyoncé's aesthetic is perfection. She lives to be admired, and the supposed grittiness in Life Is But a Dream exists so that we admire her more. Look at how critical Beyoncé is of herself when she watches herself! Look at how pretty she looks naturally! (Never mind that her several made-under looks clearly required makeup.) Listen to how well she articulates herself when presented softball questions by an interviewer that she hired for a movie she is orchestrating and directing!
Like the black-and-white footage of her supposedly pregnant self, all of Life Is But a Dream provokes more questions than it answers. We leave knowing nothing and talking and talking and talking, essentially doing the heavy-lifting for the privileged star. "All I need is not me, because I can't do it by myself," says Beyoncé on the makings of Beyoncé. It takes a nation to fuel a machine this big.
- At least the baby looks like she's genetically hers and Jay Z's.
- R8 In a recent UK magazine interview, Beyonce also mentioned Madonna as someone she looks up to as a performer and a business woman
- "say hi, micaphone."
- Did she talk about her baphomet bustier?
- She probably didn't even know who Nina Simone was until someone told her to throw the her name in there.
- So did anybody actually watch it?
The most interesting thing about it was how much her father has really fallen out of her favor. Like r9 said, Janet Jackson did this exact same move, but I feel like Janet Jackson just had more layers to her personality and her music reflected that.
I did feel a little sorry for her, it seems like she has kind of lost herself and the baby helped her get it together. I was turned off a little by how much she went on about the miscarriage. There are so many women who arent as young or wealthy or beautiful that want children but dont have them.
All in all, it was pretty boring and I could have used some coffee while watching. She is just not a dynamic or intriguing persona, but she has other things going for her.
- [quote]So did anybody actually watch it?
[quote]All in all, it was pretty boring and I could have used some coffee while watching.
Did you really think a documentary about BeYAWNce was going to be interesting? She has nothing to say and doesn't seem interesting at all.
- Beyonce, shame on you.
Beytwice, we won't get fooled again.
- Thank-you Farrah Franklin @ r20 lol
- Qui était cette cunt?
- It is always a good indicator how desperately a celb needs good PR when they start pimping their cute kids for favourable press.
Beyonce is disgusting. Her lip syncing at the inauguration will stick to her like a bad smell that won't go away. Her and her ugly husbands career are on a downhill slope. She has lost her voice and Jay Z working with has been douche bags like Timberlake is dead give away for this.
- I really didn't like how she said she was pnt complete until she had a baby. She made it sound like breeding is everything in this world.
- Why does everyone on this board hate Beyonce. How is she worse than other pop-stars.
- [quote]Why does everyone on this board hate Beyonce. How is she worse than other pop-stars.
They're haters and they're just mad that her edges are still intact gurl!
- I don't hate her but I dislike the intense marketing around her. She is a great entertainer, but I don't find her to be bright or insightful. She talks like a little girl. The Oprah gushing was hysterically camp. The Superbowl halftime show was a meeting of art and God? Um, okay, Illuminati.
- R25, I think that made her seem real. She said having a baby made her feel powerful. Complete. She also wants to be called Mrs. Carter. She seems to have her head on straight. No pretence.
- Love r12
- [quote]She also wants to be called Mrs. Carter.
What a copycat.
- Beyonce is past her prime. I cant wait until the media's love affair with her ends. The Beyonce worship is sickening.
- Lucky that the NYT writer used so many big words in the article that neither she nor Jay Z will understand that she is being panned.
- I watched it (or at least part of it); as others have indicated, it's pretty boring. Only mildly interesting part was the work on the stage show (I was flipping between channels) and she's telling her team to get it together. Even then, she's just sort of bitching at them under a cloud of hair ("I told ya'll yesterday...) rather than taking control of the situation. Overall, didn't seem interesting or very insightful.
The baby is cute, but she looks like JayZ which can't be good over the long haul. I can't believe she claimed that she gained 50-some pounds while pregnant since the shots they showed looked like a woman without an ounce of fat or bloat on her (Kim Kardashian looks like a woman who's gained 50 pounds already).
- Watching that Oprah interview made me realize that is exactly why Oprah is out of fashion and no longer relevant. THat total ass kissing/worshiping of celebs is beyond obnoxious. She did the same thing with John Travolta, Tom Cruise and a host of other celebs. At one point, she likened Beyonce to being "God Like"...wtf???
Beyonce couldn't get a word in edge-wise...and that's probably how Beyonce wanted it. Beyonce didn't appear to have anything to say nor wanted to reveal one iota of herself.
- I'm shocked that no one mentions the fact that the title of this documentary is taken from a children's rhyme. That alone told me all I need to know about the woman.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...
- The reviewer is gingerly stepping around her clear dislike of this movie.
- Her career seems to revolve around proving that she can sing, and she can't.
- Listen to how she pronounces words that include the letter "L." "Battle" becomes "batt-oh," "school" becomes "schoo," etc.
- She's not too fond of the letters t or s either, r39. Particularly when they are paired together. Thass crazy, lass night, less go, latess, etc, etc.
- [quote]Beyonce is past her prime.
She's younger now than Madonna was during the Blond Ambition tour.
- Madonna was luckier to have been a star in those pre-youtube days. I think Beyonce is overrated and history will judge her so.
- R41 the same age Beyonce is 31 she'll be 32 later this year. Madonna was 31 when Blond Ambition started and it ended a few weeks before she turned 32.
- I keep hoping for a pop music sea change that will wipe all these no-talents off the charts like grunge did to hair metal. No more Beyonce, no more Beiber, no more Katy Perry...imagine that world...
- Trying to review the Beyonce film must be like trying to describe the bouquet of an empty wine glass.
- Beyonce is oversaturated and very plastic looking.
Rihanna is much prettier, less plastic except for the faux green eyes she does, so RiRi is still rising, Beyonce is done.
Riri's back and forth with CB also helps her career.
- I agree, r46. I like Rhianna and her music. I don't like Beyonce's music and don't really consider her talented. I like that Rhianna owns the bad girl persona. She seems so much more real. And she does what she pleases. Fuck the fans and anyone else who doesn't like it. By doing that she becomes more intriguing and news worthy than playing that perfect Princess shit like Beyonce does. Why is she so fortunate and blessed? Because she kissed the Frog with all the Green. He stayed a fugly Frog but she became Queen of the Universe. The place where God meets Aaaart. Just ask Opa.
- That "God meets art" line from Oprah even embarrassed Beyonce
- Apres moi, le deluge.
- [quote]That "God meets art" line from Oprah even embarrassed Beyonce
Good Lord, Beyonce sings and dances! It's not like she's painting the next Mona Lisa.
WTF is wrong with Oprah? She sounded like a school girl with a crush.
- Did it cover whether or not Jay Z still is selling crack?
- Beyonce may or may not be a nice person, or interesting, or talented (I get the impression she is none of the above), but one thing is DEFINITELY not, is cool. This documentary sounds like pure egomania. The whole Beyonce she-bang is egomaniacal. So utterly uncool. Like bragging about yourself. Have some fucking humility.
I can't think of anything less cool than making a project out of documenting your life as a celebrity.
- [quote]Rihanna is much prettier, less plastic except for the faux green eyes
I agree that she's prettier than Beyonce, but her green eyes are real.
- I don't know why I find this so fascinating in a train-wreck sort of way...but I do. It's such an over the top worship of someone that dances and produces pop songs for a living.
Oprah asking how many phones she had - and Beyonce said "2" was so silly. Almost all of Beyonce answer were less than 5 words.
Watching Oprah give that interview was pathetic and makes me wonder why the hell she stayed so popular for so long.
- R54, Oprah was acting like a crazed fangurl, that's why.Oprah has always been like that when interviewing Beyonce. I never believed she was gay until I saw an interview she had with Beyonce back in like 07-08. She was foaming at the mouth and not letting B get a word in. She acted like a man with a crush. Her Next Chapter interview with Beyonce's nemesis Rihanna was far more interesting and compelling. Rihanna also is more articulate & authentic so I guess that factors in as well. Oprah asked the hard questions, and wasn't creaming her panties over her. Oprah's asskissing of Beyonce and heralding her as some sort of deity even embarassed Beyonce. It was obscene how much her remarks bordered on idolatry.
- She doesnt do that with most pop stars. She was tame yet engaging when she interviewed pop stars like Madonna, Janet, Britney, & Rihanna. With the Michael interview, she seemed a bit cold and distant. You can tell she didnt fancy him too much.
She was just as cold and subtly condescending in her interview of Jay-Z. The uppity bitch was acting as if being impoverished and living the hood life was such a foreign concept to her. Thep penis envy was obvious. She only tolerates him because he is Bey's husband.
- Always thought O was phony and not all that. She is a good role model for black women I suppose. But this just makes her look ridiculous. The Tom Cruise thing did too.
- That bitch ain't 31!
- Rihanna's green eyes are fake. She has brown eyes.
- Another pic of young Rihanna with brown eyes. However this girl was always a beauty, no matter the color of her eyes.
- Here's Rihanna as a toddler with brown eyes.
- One last one with young Rihanna & brown eyes.
- Rihanna is trash. Period. Beyonce isn't all that, but really--claiming Rihanna as some kind of talent is just the sort of stupidity you'd get from a high school kid who thinks Glee is real. Without autotune, Rihanna would be just another battered woman without the sense to leave her abuser.
- Whatever you think of Beyonce, it's Oprah that came off the worst on Saturday night. And you can tell she's so happy not to have to interview and interact with regular folk now that her talk show is done. She's only interested in fawning chats with celebs.
- But Rihanna IS infinitely more interesting than Beyonce. Beyonce is too interested in putting forth a perfect image, which is odd since she married a former drug dealer.
- I certainly don't have anything against Beyonce, but, I agree w/ someone upthread who said that Beyonce's catalog of songs are not that interesting (this includes her work with Destiny's Child), in my opinion. I admire her work ethic, lovely manner, talent, drive & never give up attitude. I love to listen to her sing her song titled "Halo" and a few others, but, I'll pass on most of it. She had a great tune on her last recording called "Love On Top". Her last album also showcased her as a true soul singer on certain songs. There's something very unique about her (which draws many people in.) Being beautiful, pleasant vocal tone, alluring charisma, major marketing & great dance skills complete the picture. For me, its her style of singing that usually turns me off. Sometimes she delights my spirits. For example, she was dazzling when she sang "The Way We Were" when La Striesand was given the Kennedy Center Honor. Another vote for Rhianna's music catalog & singing style over Beyonce's (Auto tune or not.) With all this said, Miss Knowles has firmly established herself as a top Diva legend and Icon.
You Go Girl....
- R12, your post sums up everything about the doc, Oprah's interview, Beyonce. Love you.
- [quote]Rihanna's green eyes are fake. She has brown eyes
Rihanna's green eyes are not fake. They are hazel sometimes and green sometimes, it just depends on the way the light hits them. Her father has green/hazel eyes as well.
- Rhianna is better looking than Beyonce. Plus Beyonce is getting old. She was big when I was in middle school. If not elementary.
- Rihanna is the Madonna of this generation. She has no actual talent but she has catchy pop songs that are constantly going to #1 like clockwork yearly. Her personal fashion, hairstyle changes, & dont give an f attitude is reminiscent of Madonna in the 80s.
Beyonce's songs arent as great as Rihanna's. I dont know why Beyonce doesnt tell Jay to hook her up with the same producers he hooks Rihanna with.
- Rihanna is the most successful pop star since Britney Spears.
- Rihanna came on the scene and blew up as Britney was breaking down. Rihanna became a huge international breakout star with her song Umbrella in 2007, the same year of Britney's fall from grace. Ironically, Umbrella was originally meant for Britney but she rejected the song because she said it was too slow and not danceable enough. Seems like Rihanna is on the brink of burnout anytime now. I'm sure her pop successor is being groomed as we speak. These things happen like clockwork. Popstars are so disposable.
- R70 actually Madonna does have SOME talent, not necesdiraly as a vocalist, but she's also a dancer and plays instruments. Madonna is also a pretty good songwriter and Babyface even called her an amazing producer, saying if she wasn't a singer she'd make a great music producer because she's knows exactly how to craft and compose a catchy song.
If Whitney, who had an AMAZING voice, were alive and someone put a gun to Whitney and Madonna's head and said compose and produce a song on the spot, Whitney would be dead and Madonna would win. Because Whitney never wrote or produced a song a day in her life, Whitney also doesn't know any music lingo, Madonna has done her homework and knows all that stuff. Everybody who")'s worked with her say she's the hardest worker they've seen and that she's the first one in the recording studio and the last to leave
The same can't be said of Rihanna
- Madonna basically wrote the book for all of them. The one star Madonna felt a kinship and connection with is ironically the one least like her - Britney. Because in Britney is a kind of fragility that Madonna couldn't afford to project within herself when re-defining popular entertainment.
- Madonna doesn't really have that much musical talent, she can sing, but not that well, she can write a tune but not that well. Britney has even less musical talent and same with Bey Bey.
- R74 the people who have attacked Madonna have always cracked me up, she never once claimed to have the best voice, in fact she's been quite open about her vocal limitations
But the fact that people like Whitney and Amy Winehouse had amazing God given voices and they fucked it all up with drugs, then you have Madonna who's been able to accomplish so much with her modest talents and hard work, shouldn't that make people respect Madonna more since she had to overcome her voice limitations?
Sorry to go off topic, let's get back to Beyonce
- R75 but Madonna is a strong record producer and a lot of people she's produced with, not just Babyface, have commented on her producing skills and her ear for the music.
It could be argued that producing is where her real talent lies, kinda like Justin Timberlake.
- Madonna had street smarts, a wicked sense of humor, and a strong will to succeed by any means necessary. She aligned herself with the best music producers, video directors, stylists, photographers, managers, and she has an unmatched hype/marketing machine. She has developed her vocal, performance/stage presence, dance, & musical talents over the years. The other pop stars don't even have 1/2 the intellect she possesses.
- R61 and R62 link is very blurred and one can't tell the true colour of Rihanna's eyes in both links.
Rihanna's eyes are indeed hazel/greenlike. I saw her upclose at a Muchmusic Awards afteparty when she hosted the awards a few years back and she does have green eyes.
I am positive of this because I myself, was on the hunt to investigate her eye colour was real.
- Absolutely sinsesational!!!!!!
- R78 exactly it was never about THE VOICE when it came to Madonna, when Striesand and Whitney debuted they were promoted as THE VOICE OF A GENERATION
So people that attack Madonna for not being a great singer always crack me up, because SHE NEVER CLAIMED TO BE. It's not like she released an album and called it "the album of the decade" like a certain popstar with the initials LG did, and then after hyping yourself and dissapointing everybody with the finished product and setting yourself up to be attacked. Madonna never claimed to have a great voice.
- [quote]But the fact that people like Whitney and Amy Winehouse had amazing God given voices and they fucked it all up with drugs, then you have Madonna who's been able to accomplish so much with her modest talents and hard work, shouldn't that make people respect Madonna more since she had to overcome her voice limitations?
Not really. For a very long time, she has claimed to be a feminist, but acts like a carny stripper desperate for attention. Most of her songs are emotionally arid, as are her interviews. She sucked up into her own ego some time ago in the 90's, and Beyonce is doing the same judging by Life is but a Dream.
- R82 Live to Tell, This Used to be my Playground, Oh Father, Rain, I'll Remember, Frozen etc.
- Yes R83, like I said. It was sometime in the 90's
- I love how this thread is no longer about Beyonce. She just is such a boring person. She needs to retire. Her only truly catchy song is Crazy in Love. The only good thing she has ever recorded.
- Beyonce won't stand the test of time. She's just too generic.
- Also, she takes zero risks. Take for example her Fatal Attraction rehash Obsessed. If Beyonce was truly the artist she claims to be, she would have wanted to play the role of the psychotic stalker who is angry at a 'brutha' marrying a white girl. But because Beyonce wants to be perceived as anything other than human, she had to play the 'heroine' who defends the heterosexual paradise from the queer invasion!
- The only two pop stars from the last 30 years who are interesting are Madonna and Gaga. Love them or hate them, they inspire conversation. Britney and Rihanna are sort of interesting, in a train wreck sort of way. Beyonce is easily the dullest of the entire group, except maybe Katy Perry.
- Madonna's voice was the worst thing about MDNA. Madonna used to be queen of the stunning and perfect studio vocal...a vocal so lush, so otherworldly that you just had to listen. It's funny that in an age where you can take someone as awful a singer as Katy Perry and make her sound like a superstar, Madonna can't even hire the right producers and vocal producers to make her vocal sound listenable.
- The only conversation Gaga will ever inspire is how she has run through Madonna's laundry, artistically speaking.
- Madonna's best vocal was "Sanctuary"..... Is aaaall of this pain so necessary?!! Yooooou aaaaaare my sanctuaaaaaaary!!!!!
- R88, I agree. It's because Madonna and Gaga are actual brainteases, and not just stripteases ala Britney, Beyonce, & Rihanna. Britney and Rihanna have self-destructive streaks so that make them intriguing. Beyonce is the least captivating of all. Everything about her act & appeal has been done before by the black female stars previous. Nothing unique about Beweave at all. Janet did the take control from Daddy/Manager thing better; Tina has the better legs and is the better mover & shaker; Diana was the better diva of an all- girl group; Whitney had the better voice & played the blonde-haired All-American black princess role better.
- Why does Madonna always have to be dragged into these threads? Madonna is a star from when people went to music shops to buy music. A completely different era.
[quote]Beyonce won't stand the test of time. She's just too generic.
Its only since she crossed over from R&B to pop that she has become generic. That is why she has set her sights back on R&B as mentioned in the boring doc.
Beyonce was the pretty Texan suburban girl with the big butt that the girls in the hood wanted to look like. She was just ghetto enough, but not too ghetto, and she knew it. She took black culture, polished it a bit, and it made her a hugely bankable star. "Single Ladies" is just the "on steroids" version of what majorettes have been doing at HBCU football games since forever. But the black audience doesn't punish her for that because she is the Diana Ross of her generation and they want her to take black culture to the masses.
- [quote]Madonna basically wrote the book for all of them
Janet-- creator of the blueprint followed by JLO, Beyonce, Britney, RiRi, etc.
- B'Day was Beyonce's most authentic album. It was country and ghetto fabolous and that's exactly what Beyonce truly is.She showed alot of personality in those songs. Too bad it's very underrated. She needs to go back to being herself. I loved how the album is about a black woman asserting her desire for affection (Deja Vu, Upgrade U), sex (Get me Bodied, Freakum Dress, Kitty Kat, Green Light), & fidelity (Irreplaceable, Ring the Alarm, Resentment). More female empowerment in that album than in that dumb singalong Single Ladies.
- I usually stay out of these discussions but I just wanted to say a few things based on some of the posts I've read so far. You personally may feel that Beyonce is mediocre, but that does not mean that she truly is. A fact that many people may not want to hear or have brought to their attention is that a black woman could not possibly reach Beyonce's level of fame in the music industry by being mediocre. It just won't happen.
Another fact is that Beyonce is a technical singer with a range between B2 to about C6. She blends the head and chest voice effortlessly, her chest voice is clean and crystal clear and velvety. She has has incredible vocal flexibility and skill. If anything her voice is underrated, but it's not close to being mediocre.
She has a song I believe called "Listen" which is an incredibly difficult song to sing. You have to be a technical singer to sing that song. A mediocre singer could not sing a song structured in that way. It takes great skill to sing that kind of song. "Halo" is another difficult song. She may not be your cup of tea, but she's a technical singer, a real singer, a skilled singer.
I could go on about her dance ability not being mediocre either, but maybe I'll get into that another time. Again, you may not like her or her singing but that doesn't make her mediocre. I know I'll probably be called a Stan (or some kind names for daring to go against the crowd) I wouldn't necessarily call myself a stan. I don't even know all of her songs. But I do appreciate her ability to get on that stage and entertain.
- Bey is a lovely woman who will age beautifully. And she's a great entertainer ... not everyone's cup of tea, but great nonetheless.
- r95 B'Day made me want to shake my ass from start to finish. Unfortunately, that album is going to get overlooked in her career (she performed not a SONG from it at the Superbowl!), even though it will probably be her best. Until she gets that B'Day flavor back, I will not be stanning for her at all.
- R96, I think most people acknowledge that Beyonce has talent in a way Rihanna, Britney, etc. don't. Namely, she can sing better than most pop stars (I personally prefer Gaga's voice). She's just boring. She doesn't have any star quality. She's the definition of the word "meh".
- [quote]But the fact that people like Whitney and Amy Winehouse had amazing God given voices and they fucked it all up with drugs, then you have Madonna who's been able to accomplish so much with her modest talents and hard work, shouldn't that make people respect Madonna more since she had to overcome her voice limitations?
Has it occurred to you that the very reason that Whitney and Amy's talent was natural and effortless, that they didn't have to try so hard, that they didn't care about their natural gifts as much as as the rest of the world did and their tragic, self-destructive tendencies that made them so intriguing and beloved, ultimately adding to their legend?
Madonna isn't a good singer, and isn't the best dancer but she worked very hard and used gimmicks to get where she is. Beyonce, although a better singer and dancer than Madonna, isn't an out-of-this-world talent in either field, and the fact she seems to try so hard is a bit of a turnoff for some.
- Beyoncé tickets: Fans outraged over “expensive” and “sold-out” shows
[quote]Confused and disappointed fans jumped on Twitter to express their anger, including Lucy Siddall, who wrote: “I've been trying to get tickets for @Beyonce now for almost 3 hours, #LGArena #Birmingham link doesn't want to work :( #gutted #O2priority.”
[quote]Others are annoyed at the steep mark-up of the tickets which have been listed on auction website Ebay, with Twitter user @CallumXyz declaring: “Beyoncé team should repurchase all the tickets from EBay, and put them back on sale.”
- [quote]She has a song I believe called "Listen" which is an incredibly difficult song to sing. You have to be a technical singer to sing that song. A mediocre singer could not sing a song structured in that way. It takes great skill to sing that kind of song. "Halo" is another difficult song. She may not be your cup of tea, but she's a technical singer, a real singer, a skilled singer.
And "Listen" and "Halo" are terrible songs, with "Halo" almost unlistenable.
- I agree 100% r103. I cannot listen to her sing those two songs. They are horribly arranged for her voice type, but she seems to love them. She sounds better with a lot of instrumentation and bass behind her because she doesn't have much texture in her voice. Its very pure and clear so she has a hard time sounding soulful. Beyonce can sing her ass off, dont get me wrong, but its either very high, very low or she is doing her vibrato.
- Rightly or wrongly the inauguration debacle killed her credibility as a singer. Yes Whitney may have done it too in 1991, but her singing ability was never in doubt.