With all the success- both critical and commercial- Beyonce's latest album is enjoying, it was only fitting that the A-Lister opened up the 2014 Grammy Awards. And kudos to the Diva for wanting to give an honest representation of what the album is (mostly) about by singing the sexually charged Drunk In Love . However, I'm not quite sure the Grammy Awards was the right gig for the performance she gave; it definitely wasn't strong enough to have been an opener.
With just a chair to keep her company for most of the time on stage, Bey had clearly listened to aunt Patti's advice on "heifers" needing too much on stage to impress. This was a stripped back affair that was relying on the singer's sexuality to sell it. And I think it could have worked if the choreography had been tighter and a little more interesting. The intro with its flashing lights, stuttering music and Bey's fierce silhouette- which drove everyone mad- attested to that. But it kind of petered out from there on.
Now to the lip-syncing. Right from the get go something seemed off. I'm sure Beyonce could sing this live, but I think the perfectionist in her, along with the nerves of being on stage alone, was enough to make her pre-record most of the track's main vocal- it was definitely live at the end. Now there's no evidence to prove this suspicion, and admittedly it's based on a feeling and two tiny parts of the video, but have read, a watch and make up your own mind.
First, we have the odd laugh at 2.40. Now that could have been pre-recorded and I wouldn't care. She's not singing after all. But her need to lip to it anyway was unnecessary and left me wondering if she did so as to not give people a reason to start asking questions, or doubt it was live. Not convinced yet, right? Well 2.56 is the part where most sat up and took notice. Watch how Bey moved the microphone from her mouth and yet the voice was still heard. What sorcery is this!? The fudge up was made more apparent by how quickly she moved the mic back to her mouth to cover it up. If I had been her, I would have just played it out, and let the fans make excuses for me- like it was reverb, or that the mic was sensitive enough to pick up the voice from a distance- but her reaction makes it hard to argue that that's what happened here.
Lipped or not, I love Beyonce's latest album. Released at the end of last year, I was tempted to call it my album of 2013, but resisted, worrying I was caught up in the hype. A month on, I haven't changed my mind and am still jamming to it daily. Drunk isn't my favorite cut, thanks in large part to Jay's repugnant line, "I am Ike Turner…Baby know I don’t play. Now eat the cake, Anna Mae. Said Eat the Cake, Anna Mae," but the rest of the album is golden as far as I'm concerned. It should be said, in fairness, I did clock the Diva echoing the line in this performance, and it has been added to my list of "questionable things Beyonce does". (Maybe one day, when I can afford round-the-clock security, I'll publicise said list.)
Still, looking forward to further performances from this era!