Monday, February 4, 2013

Halo by Beyoncé

There’s been a lot of talk about Beyoncé lately. There was the ridiculous controversy surrounding her performance at the Inauguration (ridiculous because any criticism about her lip-syncing reflects a lack of historical perspective and her role as a pop artist). Then there was the amazing halftime show she performed at the Super Bowl.

As I was watching her perform what struck me was the strength and spirit in her music. I’m not talking about “Bootylicious” (which I discussed in this earlier post). I’m talking about her more recent solo work. The song that exemplifies the power of Beyoncé’s music is “Halo.”

When I started hearing Tyra Banks use the term “fierce” on America’s Next Top Model, I was confused and just figured it was another example of Tyra being weird and crazy. Then there’s Sasha Fierce, the name of the album that features “Halo.”

“Halo” is an unconventional love song. It’s not so much about what somebody does for you that makes you fall in love. It’s about letting you love somebody and being loved in return.

This is really mature reflection on relationships that many people don’t understand. Most people struggle with their own role in the weaknesses of the relationships they have and in “Halo,” Beyoncé embraces them and moves past them.

The first verse is about the emotional walls that Beyoncé puts up and later in the song she sings about “every rule I had you breaking, It’s the risk that I’m taking.” This is a person who found comfort keeping people at a distance and setting up rules so that she wouldn’t get hurt. In this way, many people see themselves as being “strong,” or “fierce.”

That’s not strength.

True strength is reflecting on your feelings and having the guts to open yourself up and be vulnerable. This is a fierceness that would scare anyone who dares to mistreat someone because of their own insecurities.

The production of this song features an aggressive beat but also soft heavenly instruments. It modernizes the 1990s era ballad into something more modern. Beyoncé’s voice is strong but also it's honest. You feel that she’s really been through something to get to this point of strength.

The two videos I featured in this post show Beyoncé making “Halo,” something very special, first for the hospital she was visiting and second, this girl who has lived a life with cancer. Look I have no illusions that Beyoncé is some saint. I don’t look to my pop stars to be on a higher moral plane, but there is special about Beyoncé beyond the dancing, the singing and physical beauty.

There’s halos all around us we just need to tear down our walls to see them in the people is our lives.

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