Beyoncé's "Party" will make you forget B's last video, plus a breakdown of this week's charts
What do you do if you release a music video and get slammed with plagiarism accusations? If you're Beyoncé, you release another video. And then another. First Beyoncé released a video for "Countdown," her third official single (after "Run The World (Girls)" and "Best I Never Had"), then she released "Love On Top," and at best, that one was a promotional video to drive album sales, and tickle B's own fancy for the Etta James-inspired song.
More to the point, "Love On Top" diverted attention the whole "Countdown" debacle, in which B is accused of copying her choreography from Anna Teresa Keersmaeker, a German choreographer. That Beyoncé later admitted that she was inspired by Keersmaeker doesn't really matter. The video is such a visually interesting, manic take on the song, it just adds more meaning to the lyrical content.
But if the release of the simpler "Love On Top" video wasn't enough to make you forget about the controversy surrounding "Countdown," Beyoncé returns this week with yet another video. This time, a clip for the funky block-party jam "Party." In the video, Queen B doesn't just make you forget about your cares, she makes you forget about her past, as though the whole "Countdown" thing never happened. You'll be too busy marveling at her Tina Turner legs, especially when she's cutting her lawn at the 3:05 mark, to question whether the choreography in "Party" is original. It doesn't if this one's original -- plus, there's not very much in the way of choreography in the first place.
Beyoncé's smooth vocal delivery on "Party" even makes you forget that André 3000 -- yeah, of OutKast funkiness -- rapped on the original release of the song, included on B's semi-new album, 4. On the video version of the track, which contains the same production and Kanye West intro ("You a bad girl and your friend's bad too/We got the swag so she drippin' swagoo"), André 3000 isn't to be found. Instead, J. Cole appears, offering up an Ice Cube-, Petey Pablo-referencing rap. His contribution is solid and doesn't sound too out of place with the downplayed production, but, let's face it: J. Cole is no André 3000 delivery-wise. André's rap just oozes old-school cool, as the man just rides the beat with his words: "Set the scene, 3000 degrees... I got a homeboy named Butter, and another homeboy they nicknamed Cheese."
But swapping André 3000 out for J. Cole is just something Beyoncé can do without question. Since she's been in such top form since "Crazy In Love," nobody doubts the power of the B. Her rising star made her stand out the most during her time leading Destiny's Child to chart success in the late '90s and early 2000s. It didn't matter if Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland were also in the powerful girl-group, the show was certainly led by Beyoncé. However, during "Party" Beyoncé dispenses with any bad blood that may have existed between her and the other two, as Rowland appears alongside B dancing and shaking shoulders in the video (that Kelly's at the 3:02 mark). It's good to see the ladies reunited and having so much fun. (B's younger sister Solange also appears in the video.)
So is all the fun in "Party" (and the great simplicity of "Love On Top") enough to forgive Beyoncé of her much-debated creative misstep for the "Countdown" video? No. But is it enough to make you forget about it for almost four minutes so you can enjoy the party? Awwwwww yeah.
Reunited and it feels so good: Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland in "Party."
Movers & Shakers: Adele continued her reign on the charts last week, holding at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Someone Like You" and claiming the top spot once again on the Billboard 200, after losing to Evanescence's self-titled third album last week. Adele's debut album, 19, also moved up the charts last week from 22-20, even though it was released in January 2008.
Casting Crowns, meanwhile, slides in at number two with its album, Come To The Well, while Scotty McCreery's debut album Clear As Day climbs one this week, moving from four to three. And there was much rejoicing from the American Idol camp. The new single by the original champ, Kelly Clarkson, climbed five spots (24-19). "Mr. Know It All" looks to be on a steady climb and will likely continue moving up, especially after Kelly's media blitz this past week to promote the release of her fifth album, Stronger. Higher on the singles chart, Justin Bieber's Christmas tune "Mistletoe" debuted at number eleven. Even though Christmas is still more than a month and a half away, it's apparently never too early for Christmas music if you're a Belieber.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.