For the next several days, I'll be touching on stuff that happened and/or was released last year that I never got around to writing about. We all need ways to make our year-to-year transition easier -- this is mine.
Everything you need to know about my love of Beyoncé can be explained in the following gif:
OK? Stop reading this post now, because it gets no better than that, obviously. In fact, stop reading this blog now for the exact same reason.
Just kidding. Don't stop reading ever. I'm living my dreams, guys.
Can you tell how sincere I am by invoking Beyoncé's single tear that comes after uttering virtually the same sentence as above (as well as, "Why did God give me this life? Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Why did god give me my talent, my life, my family?”)? "Single Ladies" was a cultural phenomenon (as we're reminded in a montage of shitty fan-made videos of people doing that fucking dance), but I can't for the life of me figure out why this completely over-the-top confessional (a display first, and emotional outpouring second, if at all) didn't inspire dozens of copycat/parody videos of its own. The general public's doings continue to mystify me...
I really could have done an X Most Ridiculous Things in I Am...The World Tour, just as I did with The Beyoncé Experience and I Am...Yours. But I don't know, repeating myself tends to yield diminishing returns (though it takes just as much time), and plus I Am...The World Tour is so, so similar to I Am...Yours. The World Tour captivated me all the same, though, and was just as full of its own ridiculousness. To wit:
She is as wild-eyed as ever.
She walks like Oprah walking like Tina Turner.
She rocks an outfit that features giant brass nipples.
Sometimes, she rocks no nipples at all.
She rocks a wedding dress.
(In the bonus documentary on the DVD about the I Am...The World Tour film, which is basically a concert movie with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage interspliced, making it a documentary of sorts itself, she explains that she had "Ave Marie" played at her wedding. She's performing that song in this scene, so the wedding dress makes sense only after the fact. Before that, it just seems like she's playing Barbies with her own body.)
Instead of singing, "And are you thinkin' of me when you fuck her?" in her cover of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know," she merely flips the bird:
She wears shocking lipstick.
She loves her husband so much, it reduces her to nonsense.
I'm sorry. I mean nonsense-z.
She cries so much!
Even when she's a tiger!
But not when she's Spider-Woman, which she apparently is at times!
She has a way with her tongue:
She wears socks with heels and says it's a "diva tip 101." There should be a name for a string of words wherein each constituent makes less sense than the one that came before it. A phrasé perhaps?
She hits new levels of theatricality...
...seemingly when merely existing:
And you know what?
It's really bold of her to let everyone let their own freak flags fly (albeit, they are flying in a manner that is designated by her and/or one of her employees and obviously tailored so that they don't cast any shadow of hers). Her fans are apparently just as wild. The camera is never too far from them (as long as they are in reverent agony):
This is some Eastern-Europeans-in-the-presence-of-Michael Jackson-level hysteria.
All of this is to say that I Am...The World Tour is wondrously entertaining. It was launched in support of her last album, the mixed-bag double LP I Am...Sasha Fierce, and this is related -- how else? -- via coin in an interstitial:
But the fact that she is always Sasha Fierce onstage whips the rather drab material of the first disc into an live frenzy. She has all sorts of wiggles for all of her songs, regardless of their tempos or their middling instrumentation. It's as though she takes the lyrics from perennial concert opener "Crazy in Love" ("Got me lookin' so crazy right now!") not as a mere observation, but as a credo and makes it her business to provide evidence of her craziness in every second of the show.
The non-concert parts are pretty great, too, as she nonchalantly rattles off a series of exotic locations in a video-log montage ("So, I'm in Ethiopia..."). Check out the absolutely ridiculous photos that appear in the booklet that comes with the DVD:
She's so culturally matter of fact!
Beyoncé is among the most guarded of pop stars this side of the Jackson Family compound. While I wouldn't call this film revealing, per se, we do get more of a sense what it is to be her than we ever have before: she talks about taking a 25-hour plane ride for just 48 hours of time to be spent at home (ugh, can you imagine?) and how she feels obligated to wear a constant smile in public. “If I’m just normal and I walk around, someone might mistake me for a mean person," she explains. We see how irritating that must be when a particularly bratty fan moans about how she didn't look at him while out shopping. Someone off camera suggests that she probably didn't hear him calling to her, but he's not having it: "Oh she probably a bitch." Upon leaving the store, she shakes his hand, which seems like an unfair reward to him in a way, but is mostly just a triumph over some asshole's assumption. This is Beyoncé's world -- we're just humiliated in it.
Basically, every thread of this woman's being exists to entertain. She says as much as she bids her fans farewell at the end of her show. She punctuates her impassioned words with a completely silly, "Holla!"
That, people, is Beyoncé in a nutshell. She is in complete mastery of her crazy (it's basically her onstage aesthetic). This control means she'll never rank up quite as high with me as the less aware, true eccentrics in her field (like Mariah and Whitney). But it also means that she's plenty awe-inspiring in her own right. Holla!