Friday, March 13, 2009

Poetry Friday: All the single ladies


I've been obsessing just a little about Beyonce's hit, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), so I am using Poetry Friday as an excuse to explore why.

Things I love about it: The title (the parentheses). The simple trips up and down the major scale. The call and response. The bridge. The post-post-feminism empowerment lyrics. The schoolyard chant. The beat. The video. Oh yes, the video.

Why can books never employ that parentheses trick? The best we seem to be able to do is use "or," as in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. I suppose we give books nicknames (e.g., HP7), but we don't memorialize those nicknames in the actual titles of literary works. I don't know what Beyonce's memoir will be called, but I hope it shatters literary convention and includes an alternate title (in parens).

Don't you just love and admire the way song just skips way up and down a regular old major scale? It's a simple schoolyard chant with a driving beat. The S&M Mary Janes worn in the video by Beyonce and her two relatively heavily-clad backup dancers are a little nod to the schoolyard, too. At least that's what I like to think.

And how about the call and response? Calculated to get all the single ladeies -- and every single woman -- out on the dance floor, it still evokes a deep-seated recognition in the listener, at least in this one.

Then there are the lyrics! The song is credited to Thaddis Laphonia Harrell, Jr; Beyonce Knowles; Terius Youngdell "TheDream" Nash; Christopher "Tricky" Stewart -- it's an Oscar-worthy cast. I know, I know, it's so heavily produced that it's barely a song at all, but look at the words and tell me how anyone can help but sympathize/empathize with the singer. This is an anthem for anyone who's been wronged by a no-'count man. And, much as I love and adore men of all stripes...who hasn't been wronged by a no-'count man at least once in her life?

I'm blameless, she says. I have the moral upper hand. You had your chance and you blew it. So long sucker. All the things we want to say but we can't find the words. Well, here they are.

So "infinity and beyond" makes us all think of Buzz Lightyear. So the symbol of a ring to show a woman's worth in objective terms is against what we and our foremothers fought for. So no one can really move like that without a few breathers between takes (right?). I don't care, and neither do the forty-six MILLION viewers of her video.

Plus, you know you've really arrived when your song has its own brass band sheet music. Happy poetry Friday, Beyonce. I like it.

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) Lyrics

All the single ladies (7x)
Now put your hands up
Up in the club, just broke up
I’m doing my own little thing
Decided to dip but now you wanna trip
Cuz another brother noticed me
I’m up on him, he up on me
Don’t pay him any attention
cried my tears, after three good years
Ya can’t be mad at me

[Chorus]
Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

[Chorus]
Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips
and we tated up in my Dereon jeans
acting up, drink in my cup
I could care less what you think
I need no permission, did I mention
Don’t pay him any attention
Cuz you had your turn
But now you gonna learn
What it really feels to miss me

[Chorus]
Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it


Don’t treat me to these things of the world
I’m not that kind of girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve
Is a man that makes me and takes me
And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
Pull me into your arms
Say I’m the one you want
If you don’t, you’ll be alone
And like a ghost I’ll be gone

All the single ladies (7x)
Now put your hands up

[Chorus]
Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

5 comments:

Calista said...

<3 !!!

polycotte said...

Aw, man, now I'm going to have to watch that video ... ;-)

Lauren

Jean Reidy said...

Brenda,
Now you've done it. You've got that song stuck in my head again like a smudged CD. My daughters and I have learned to sing the chorus in staccato falsettos that take the rhythm to a whole new level.

Shelli said...

uh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh - love it!

Rick said...

Poetry is not my strong but I think a little of it is not going to hurt me, one day I wrote a poem related to Generic Viagra.