Has this been the Year of4? It's certainly come close. Beyonce started 2011 as pop-R&B's queen regnant with Jay-Z and is poised to leave 2011 as the same, with one more family member set for the succession, with about a dozen or so new music videos in her collection and with one of the year's most assured pop albums. Click through the slideshow and relive Bey's year.
There comes a point in every pop star andindependent woman's life where she must break free from the parents' career grip--particularly when later rumors suggested mismanagement on father Mathew Knowles' part. "I grew up watching both he and my mother manage and own their own businesses. They were hardworking entrepreneurs and I will continue to follow in their footsteps,"Beyonce said. But did she? Click on....
Oh, just Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles at the 2011 (60th) NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center in downtown L.A. You know, a typical day out.
As goofy as Beyonce gets. She spent the day at Disneyland Paris with her adoring nephew Daniel in France. This is known as "foreshadowing."
Beyonce makes a surprise appearance at PS161 and dances with schoolkids as part of Michelle Obama'santi-obesity campaign, LETS MOVE!, in Harlem, NY on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. She'd make avideofor the campaign later.
"Run the World (Girls)" might not have gotten as much chart love as such paragons of songwriting like "Sexy and I Know It" and "Stereo Hearts," but it's not for lack of effort. Easily the most galvanizing track on4, it's easy to forget just hownovel"Run the World" seemed upon its release. Part of the credit's got to go to Major Lazer, whose "Pon the Floor" provided the beat, but credit Beyonce too: who else in pop could convince us this well that couture and choreography can overwhelm any army, checks must be cut and femininity--not man-hating, as some inaccurately accuse--is this powerful?
How does one top a music video with explosions, tangled armies and tearing at every piece of desert scenery available? How do you make the Billboard Music Awards exciting? A killer motion-graphics routine and even stronger vocals will do, no? It works so well, it's a wonder no one did it before. Well. As it turns out, someone had--the performance was a lot like one by Italian pop starLorella Cuccarini. We say there's room for two.
"1+1," possibly the best almost-maybe-kinda single off4, isn't just a great ballad but the year's best way of identifying wisenheimers who giggle at the algebra line, revealing that they have zero knowledge ofSam Cooke. Beyonce performed it onAmerican Idol, and in this backstage video Jay-Z leaked, proves that her voice can destroy large objects, not to mention emotional blockages.
Beyonce helps celebrate the one-year anniversary of Target East Harlem. Every kid in the vicinity is awed by her, as tends to happen.
For a while there, it looked like4wouldn't be released--that is, if you looked through the lenses ofridiculous rumors. Not only was4released, but it sold 310,000 copies--a drop-off from her last tally, but hardly laughable. At the time, it was the year's third-biggest album debut. More importantly, the album's great, retrofitting classic R&B for Beyonce's colossal presence. Of course a child of destiny would grow up so gracefully.
We're not going to say the Babyface ballad "Best Thing I Never Had" is the best track off4, or the second-best, or the third-best. (All of those are coming.) It didn't even reach the Billboard top ten. We will say, though, that the prom-footage player in its video probably watched this triumphal last word of a wedding, and regretted his entire life until then. "I bet it sucks to be you right now," Beyonce sings. Pretty much.
Few people could upstage both Kanye West and Jay-Z on the same track. One is Nicki Minaj on Kanye's "Monster." The other is Beyonce on "Lift Off" from collaborationWatch the Throne. Who else could take it that far?
OMG BEYONCEIS PREGNANT. (She also rampaged through umpteen key changes on "Love on Top." But everyoneremembers the baby. BayBey. Something like that.)
Critical fave "Countdown" is either the best song off4and of the year and possibly decade, ormaybe that third-best off4that we mentioned. But the video's spectacular: an eye-poppingpop-culture highlights reelfull of quick cuts, pregnancy teases and mugging. No second was left untouched by joy.
Beyonce wasn't technically at the Michael Jackson Forever tribute concert--this performance was pre-taped and shown via satellite. Total casualties in charisma: zero.
Beyonce is pregnant. She just is, OK? Didn't stop the Keystone Kops of the Internet from thinking she faked the whole thing for publicity--specifically one clip from an Australian TV show where her dress draped a little funny. Don't worry, though--eperts like Wendy Williams made sure to debunk the rumors in great detail with lots of replay. Bey's publicist called the rumors "stupid, ridiculous and false," which makes sense considering they are indeed stupid, ridiculous and false.
"Love on Top" is fantastic, a throwback track where Beyonce rejoices in finding loveandindependence by doing a dizzy dance through about five keys. The video--a tribute to New Edition's "If It Isn't Love"--is just as exuberant, starting with just Bey, some backup dancers and a bare room, then getting swankier by the key change.
If you asked us to pick our "Party," we'd pass up the J Cole version for the original version with an Andre 3000 appearance--always welcome, asKe$haandLloydshowed us this year. We'd also try to get Kanye not to say "Swagu." But when was the last time you got invited to a pool party with BeyonceandKelly?
Ah, that storied standard of a Halloween costume: the bumblebee. At least Beyonce--shown here coming out of the Darby restaurant in NYC--has claim to the title Queen B.
Whether you're a native New Yorker or someone on a Beyonce pilgrimage, it'd have taken extraordinary luck or extraordinary after-the-fact funds to get a ticket to Beyonce's four-night performance of4at NYC's Roseland Ballroom. Good thing Bey released it as a live DVD:Live at Roseland: Elements of 4. Those "elements," it turns out, werevideos of more than half the record.
How'd you spend your Thanksgiving? Beyonce spent it by making her very own mini-noir film for the video to4bonus track "Dance With You." It's good enough to justify its being about the dozenth video from the record, and it's even more proof that few artists this year worked harder than Beyonce.
Check out Beyonce's new shoes. The custom-made sneakers feature calf hair, as well as ostrich, crocodile, anaconda and stingray skins, with gold stitching. The 'King Bey' kicks, from US footwear brand PMK, were created for the R&B singer. "Perfectly made describes this design best," said PMK CEO Andre Scott. PMK stands for 'perfectly made kicks'. They are said to mimic "the southern belle's sweet and fierce persona", said the company in a statement. They were originally a pair of Isabel Marant sneaker wedges before being customized. The price of them has not been revealed but the Isabel Marant shoes retail for $350 USD without the changes.MKCustoms.com/Splash New