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BEYONCE: I Am...Sasha Fierce

 

Beyonce has returned to the airwaves with her third solo album I Am…Sasha Fierce – wait…did she ever leave?

Much has changed since B-day. There’s the subtle change that age simply brings and then there’s the marriage! After eight years of dating rapper Jay-Z, Beyonce finally changed her single status to become one half of the newly most elite hip-hop couple.

The by-product of those changes is I Am…Sasha Fierce – a project which explores her dual personalities. Sasha represents her on stage, bold persona. Meanwhile I Am explores her more subdued, shy essence. In short I Am is Beyonce. Sure this dual personality concept has been done before – i.e. T.I. v T.I.P – but seeing a woman bring the concept to life does bring a certain freshness. This concept is especially interesting for Beyonce because I believe fans can visibly see a distinct difference between her on-stage, off-stage auras. So who wins the battle of Beyonce v. Sasha?

Once you hear “If I Were A Boy” you’ve truly heard the gem of the I Am portion of the dual CD pack. This track finds Beyonce sans the big horns and big beats. Instead, she delivers a more vulnerable performance exploring the often double-standard that exists amongst genders in relationships. “Halo” and “Ava Maria” follow suit. While I doubt either will hit airwaves, both find Beyonce exhibiting the vocal acrobats she’s known for.

Similarly, Sasha Fierce is short on standouts. Her first single, “Single Ladies” mimics I Am by releasing its most powerful juice first. I love this single because it’s what I know Beyonce for – a light-hearted, uptempo anthem for women. Equally as intriguing is the video which has sparked all sorts of spoofs on YouTube. You know you’ve made it when spoofs arise. Standout “Radio” finds Beyonce in 80s throwback mode, while “Hello” finds the songstress passionately paying ode to her boo:

“I get so excited when you travel with me
Baby, while I'm on my grind
And never would I ever let my hustle
Come between me and my family time”


While “Radio” stands out I feel Rihanna all over this track. I commend Beyonce for stepping out of her normal “Get Me Bodied,” “Crazy In Love” mode but the style is unmistakably close to that of Rihanna. Similarly, “Diva” takes inspiration from Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” so Weezy fans should be delighted to hear Beyonce in diva form:

“You act like I just got up in it
Been the number one diva in this game for a minute
I know you read the paper, the one that they call a queen
Every radio round the world know me
Cause that’s where I be"


Beyond the aforementioned, neither CD offers much more. Often times I felt that Beyonce spent so much time stepping out of her comfort zone that she lost the essence of who she is as an artist. Although many have suggested that Beyonce lacks substance, her niche for songs like “Déjà Vu” and “Crazy In Love” have created an identity for her that fans have come to love.

Adding a little more fuel to the fire is the dual version of the CDs. Heaven forbid if fans are picking up the CD after the usually discounted first week. You could end up paying a whopping $20. Geez….I haven’t paid those prices since CDs first hit the market.

So who wins…..Beyonce or Sash? By default, I suppose there are more tolerable songs on Sasha Fierce. However, it’s fans who lose here.  More hype than substance.

 



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