Just this past weekend, the one and only Beyoncé, in an effort to build up buzz, publicity and anything else she might need for her new album slated for release later this year, dropped a very curious and uncharacteristic song for an entertainer of her caliber.
The two-part single, entitled “Bow Down (I Been On)” is probably the most talked about single of the year thus far, and truthfully, that’s exactly the way it should be if Beyoncé drops new music. After all, it’s been a substantial amount of time since her last album and we can be sure that both the most obsessive Beyoncé fan and most stringent hater have been foaming at the mouth for this one, either to continue lifter her to the heavens on a golden pedestal, or to bask in the delight of watching her falter and reveal that she’s actually mortal.
Sounding like a true ode to Bey’s hometown of Houston, “Bow Down (I Been On)” isn’t the Bey that many folks will expect. True, she’s still a southern belle through and through, but at this point in her career, with the multi-million dollar Super Bowl halftime performances, the stadium tours, the Hollywood movie roles, the interviews with Oprah and the regular photo ops with President Obama, she’s reached a stratosphere few entertainers will ever even sniff. So that’s what makes it even more interesting, and possibly confusing for some people to hear the divine Miss Bey so arrogant, confrontational and pretty unforgiving to any other major female performer that could hope to count her as competition.
With it’s heavy bounce and bass production by Hit Boy that’s thicker than a home made buttermilk biscuit drenched in hot syrup, distorted vocals and bottom-of-the-map drawl, and synthesized drum patterns reminiscent of Outkast’s “B.O.B.”, Bey is unapologetically getting her H-town on. And to be honest, it’s not half bad. True enough it’s not what she’s known for, and she’ll probably turn a few people off, but after a few spins, you can’t help but bounce right along side.
Thing is, the song has more than a few critics, fans and folks on both sides of the fence up in arms over the departure from her usual fare. Tweets from Keyshia Cole surfaced recently that seemed to question Bey’s authenticity. And even on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the reception was no better, as Mrs. Knowles-Carter was called out pretty much for saying one thing and doing another with the thought that she can “do better”. Namely, her use of the B-word was questioned, criticized and scathed to no end. Beyonce herself is said to have told the press that her use of the word is about empowerment for women (which I honestly don’t buy), but that’s still an argument that the jury is still out on.
But when all is said and done, the main thing that Beyoncé is looking to do here is gain the attention of the music-loving and buying public, which she has accomplished, mainly because people are talking about the song, sharing the song, commenting on the song, and searching out opinions and different takes on the song like a heat-seeking missile. With both a new album and a world tour on the way, it’s important for Bey to leak any new material she deems fit for the public to consume to garner a response. So essentially, she’s just doing her job as a performer, an entertainer and a businesswoman in 21st century pop music.
That’s not to say that it’s not surprising of her to choose this particular song to release to the net, nor to say that she should not be taken to task for her use of “bitch” in the song. On the contrary, it’s a matter of Beyoncé creating a buzz for herself so that she can sell music and move her army of fans to support her.
More than that, Beyoncé is famous for playing roles in her music. And so are many artists in this day and age, from Drake to Nicki Minaj to Lady Gaga. “Bow Down (I Been On)” really just seems like another example of that. Much like many of her past songs (“Green Light”, “Déjà vu”, “Single Ladies”) Beyoncé feels the need to use her actress chops to create music, and she’s a master at doing so. You can tell she’s just having fun with it, and not taking herself too seriously, but is also letting anyone that may have forgotten just what the deal is.
So in the end, should we really be so bent out of shape about “Bow Down (I Been On)”? As a fan of music, I can’t say I am. It’s really just Beyoncé doing what she does best in all respects of music: using her position and power as a preeminent performer and artist of the 21st Century to gain exposure, listeners and views for her music and building buzz that’s too important to pass up so that her music can be heard by millions. Let’s just let it be what it is and let the new music she’s bound to drop speak for itself. It ain’t that serious, folks.
© 2013, rongreezy. All rights reserved. Copy, and reblogging (reposting) this blog or the use of blog post images are NOT permitted without direct permission of The Blackness