Beyonce and Jay-Z Get Back to Running the World After Barclays Concert and "Picasso Baby" Video
After a cruel summer, America's biggest power couple are back on top.
Beyoncé has suffered some criticism in the past few months for relentlessly controlling her image — after some unflattering pictures came out on Buzzfeed after her halftime performance at the Superbowl, her publicist asked that they be taken down. Then her people once again misunderstood how the Internet and cell phones work and banned press photos from being taken at her concerts.
The singer may be a perfectionist about her image, but her perfectionism paid off at her concert on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. According to the reviews, Bey was as fierce as ever, and her set included both a cover of The Jeffersons theme song and a remix of If I Were A Boy to The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony."
Many singers, like Adam Levine and Rihanna, enthrall their fans by making the folks in the crowd believe, if only for a second, that they're the ones being sung about, seduced and desired. Beyonce, on the other hand, impresses by making it abundantly clear -- even while she's writhing around in apparent ecstasy while screaming, "Make love to me!" -- that she is definitely and absolutely not thinking about you.
The power comes, in other words, from the emotional honesty of the moment -- she doesn't need to sing for you, because watching her sing for herself, her husband or her daughter is overwhelming enough. At certain points during Saturday's show ("Run the World," "1+1," "Irreplaceable," "Survivor"), Beyonce convincingly lost herself in the moment, re-energizing a crowd that, while certainly excited at the prospect of seeing Destiny's one true child, still needed to be amped up.
Without almost nothing in the way of new material since the 2011 release of her sublime R&B record, 4, Shawn Carter's better half proved her deep catalog was more than enough to mount a thrilling two-hour show, complete with bursts of pyro and awe-inducing walls of glitter. She even reached back into her girl-group grab bag for a fist-pumping rendition of "Survivor."
The not-quite single “Grown Woman” actually felt electric onstage, in a way it never has on tinny YouTube plays. And an “I Will Always Love You” a cappella into “Halo”came off as an appropriately chest-poundy ending, if a little melancholy for a closer.
Then again, that’s her prerogative; after nearly two hours, twenty-plus songs, and an entire eyeball-melting solar system of sequins, Mrs. Carter told us all to drive safely, and then went gently into that good night.
Jay-Z's weekend triumph you can review for yourself. He recently released his "performance art" video for "Picasso Baby." And while the album that it comes from, Magna Carta Holy Grail, received pretty middling reviews, the video blows those criticisms out of the water. Not only has Jay-Z made an unprecedented move for any musical performer (especially a mainstream rap artist), the video is completely ebullient. It's less about bravado or pretension and instead puts humanity on display. Plus, the video features priceless cameos from half the cast and crew of Girls to Marina Abramovic, who inspired the whole performance, to a cute little old lady art dealer who throws off Hova's flow.
But really, who were we kidding? They're "Bonnie and Clyde." Nothing can keep Mr. and Mrs. Carter down for long.