Local Wire

Beyoncé

From blandly cute child stardom to booty-licious, cold isolationism to diva-level, so-in-luv obsession to pan-media omnipresence — that's the trail former Destiny's Child centerpiece Beyoncé Knowles has blazed, and whether any of these poses/phases were sincere seems almost beside the point today. Knowles' career has been such a master class in the cultivation of pop mystique — the "exclusive" interviews that give the illusion of transparency, the winky-yet-emphatic denials of a romance with Def Jam prez Jay-Z (despite tons of paparazzi-procured evidence to the contrary), the tabloid rumors allowed to run rampant — that her CDs almost take a backseat to speculation, movie roles, and makeup commercials. Why, one could be forgiven for totally forgetting that B'Day (her second solo album) even dropped last year and was a juicy slice of hip-hop-fluent R&B cantaloupe. A lot to like, there: the minimalist klaxon histrionics of "Ring the Alarm," the juke-joint, kept-man funk of "Suga Mama," and the monied sincerity-feint kiss-off of "Irreplaceable." Sure, the sentiments expressed readily fed on and played into certain rumor-mill narratives, and the liner photos could've doubled as a catalog for Ms. Knowles' fashion line. But as a society, we're pretty far removed from the day when sex appeal and a few expensive hooks were enough to keep anyone in the public's good graces, let alone its collective memory.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Cummings