beyonce's halftime show has been garnering universal ecstasy, or literal idolatry. i have to say i hate framing musical performances in these insane-scale spectacles, which beyonce's show is, even not at the super bowl. but it just invites the response that the hugeness is inversely proportional to the truth at the heart. anyone that intent on distracting attention from her music probably has very good reasons to do so. anyway, i'm just gonna stare at something like that and go: wow that cost millions. what bullshit. i don't think even the sheer spectacle had any real visual unity or a great deal of panache or anything; it was just supposed to bludgeon you into obedience.
ok beyonce can dance, but the style is still paula abdul and the laker girls with a little more stripper. the whole performance worked best as softcore porn or like one of those victoria's secret shows. i'm supposing that beyonce can sing, though i'm not as clear as everyone seems to be that she actually was. but even her voice was buried in audio sludge, and that's pretty true on the records too. i don't think the music means anything. seriously. the best riff by far was that horn thing on 'crazy in love,' which is a sample (of course there were models sort of pretending to be a horn section behind her). now i have less than no problem with sampling as a compositional and production technique; still there were no comparable musical accomplishments in her set.
the lyrics are just today's empty pop things, with the occasional pause for the 'believe in yourself' power ballad where one pretends to emote with unparalleled intensity. she does that no better than miley cyrus, and if you think that people can perform songs like that sincerely, you're not understanding that they don't engage or reflect any particular experience: they're like the self-esteem posters at the middle school. they might be aimed at your demographic, but not at you; in a way there's nothing it could mean for something like that to be sincere or even insincere. the pepsi jingle has more content, and really it might have some connection with what's inside you, or will be if you pop the top and tip it over into your mouth.
in short, that's just the kind of show caligula would have ordered up if he'd had the technology.
were i booking next year's super bowl halftime show for a useful contrast, here'd be my first brainstorm: what if we could get a reunion of the fugees instead of destiny's child? how would lauryn hill frame her voice and material? well, it would be personal. it would have dignity - she would have dignity - and believe it or not i think that is sexier. let wyclef do 'stayin alive.' wait, that's nas! maybe lauryn isn't as good a singer as beyonce (i'm not sure because no one knows what beyonce really sounds like singing in the shower or whatever). but that doesn't matter. lauryn sings great and she wants you to know what she's singing and she has a real connection to it. she might, even in this bloated context, move you, and not just her moneymaker.
i've been on this various times before, as in this, which ran in the latimes.
'more conscious of the way we raise our daughters.'