Friday, March 22, 2013

Is Beyoncé Now Beyond Parody?

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the leading musical power couple in the world, I would guess. Jay-Z alone has been estimated by Forbes to be worth $500 million dollars. Between the two of them they have sold close to two hundred million albums worldwide. So why do I say that Beyoncé is beyond parody? She released a new song a few days ago--at least I think it was "released" whatever that means nowadays. There is a video, though without the actual song:

That is bizarre in a lot of ways. First of all, it purports to be the "official video" of the song, "Bow down", but the song isn't there. The soundtrack is just some synthesized burbling with female chorus oohing over top. The video is Beyoncé being dressed as a 21st century version of Marie Antoinette. But what is really weird is that the "song" or "video" rather, at the end turns into a commercial for 02 concert tickets. OK, now let's see if we can find the actual song. This seems to be "snippets", i.e. parts of two songs from the upcoming album. The first is "Bow Down":

And here are some of the lyrics:

I’m out that H-town

Coming, coming down
I’m coming down dripping candy on the ground
H, H-town, town, I’m coming down
Coming down dripping candy on the ground

[Verse 1]

I know when you were little girls
You dreamt of being in my world
Don’t forget it , don’t forget it
Respect that, bow down bitches
I took some time to live my life
But don’t think I’m just his little wife
Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted
This my shit, bow down bitches


Bow down bitches, bow bow down bitches
Bow down bitches, bow bow down bitches
H-town vicious, h-h-town vicious

I’m so crown, bow bow down bitches

Supposedly this is all about Houston car culture and rivals in the music world. But, combined with the first video I posted, all I can think is "let them eat cake!" Well, brioche, actually, but no-one knows what brioche is, so never mind.

Looking and listening to this I think that Beyoncé has moved beyond parody. What could you possibly do? But maybe we should wait for a parody professional like Weird Al Yankovic to do his thing. Here he is deconstructing Lady Gaga:

Speaking of Al, here is one of his classic parodies, Michael Jackson's "Beat It":

Ever since the 60s when popular music suddenly became a huge economic force, dwarfing the classical world, there has been hubris and excess. Even wonderfully gifted musicians like the Beatles had their moments as when John Lennon mentioned they were more famous than Jesus. But viewed from the present day scene, the excesses of the Beatles and other 60s acts seem quaint. John bought a Rolls Royce and had it painted in psychedelia? Big deal. Beyoncé lives--and apparently thinks--like Marie Antoinette. Just weird.

And let's not talk about the music. That would be just embarrassing... 

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