Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Beyoncé 

I Am ... Sasha Fierce  (Columbia/Music World)

Wednesday, Nov 26 2008
Comments

From petulance ("Bills, Bills, Bills") to spite ("Survivor"), a large part of Destiny's Child's appeal was the ability to stamp a singular attitude over every nook and cranny of a four-minute single. So it should come as no surprise that Beyoncé would eventually take up a larger canvas and make a concept record. I Am ... Sasha Fierce is just that: two discs cleanly divided into two moods elaborated through distinct personae.

The first disc is credited to Beyoncé and features a half-dozen soaring ballads. Each song is built around piano, acoustic guitar, and a relatively unadorned voice that approximates a singer-songwriter's intimacy without eschewing the groove. "If I Were a Boy" presents a wholly captivating close-up of masculine/feminine empathy, while "Halo" pulls back on an exalted wide-shot Beyoncé fills with the controlled power of her voice.

Disc two belongs to Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé's plucky club-hopping alter ego. Melody succumbs to 808s and whooshing synths on these five tracks, the most musically coherent being the lead song, "Single Ladies." The percussion-heavy arrangements of the succeeding tracks careen beyond the edge of pop radio. Sasha's sonic assault culminates in the arabesque "Video Phone." After years of churning out discs with an even hits-to-filler ratio, Beyoncé has finally made an album with something to offer beyond its singles.

About The Author

Andrew Stout

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"