Beyonce- Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)

Quality: 4

Clean: 3.5

Genre: R&B, pop

single

Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) is Beyonce’s second single from her album I Am Sasha Fierce. On first listen the music and lyrics converge to create an empowering go-girl kind of message. The beats are heavy and strong, as if Beyonce is shaking a finger in your face. Very danceable and fun, the music is also somehow feminine as if not to separate Beyonce’s power from her female-ness. Have you ever seen the 80’s movie Xanadu? There is a moment in the film where Olivia Newton-John emerges from another realm into our human world. All decked out  in crazy 80’s hair and makeup, her power and beauty do not belong on Earth…the same other-worldly 80’s sound effects are in Single Ladies, signifying that Beyonce too is too much for this world. Lyrics also reinforce the message. I love the way the song begins. Beyonce calls out: All the Single Ladies, all the single ladies, saying: Step UP!! Be strong, you are strong! The chorus is also great: If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it…oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, telling all the dead-beat boyfriends in the world that there will be no more taking advantage, no more wasting of time. That all the single ladies are not going to be satisfied with less than what is deserved, which of course is the love, respect and commitment that an engagement/wedding ring symbolizes. I like this message. I wish more of my single friends would not compromise for a man. I wish they knew that they are beautiful and capable without one and that they are worth waiting for. They don’t need to change who they are when they meet someone, nor do they need to lower their standards. I love Beyonce for this message.

On consecutive listens however I start hearing other parts to the lyrics. Imagine the situation: you’ve been with a guy for three years, but instead of him proposing like you had hoped, he dumps you. Of course you are devastated and cry your eyes out. But now you are starting to recover and need some validation. Are you really worthless like he said?  So you go clubbing with your girlfriends. You dress to kill and receive lots of attention from the men-folk. They think you are hot and it feels good. So you dance with provocatively with them, and you receive the attention you wanted. Your ex is even there and he’s jealous because he knows you look good. This feels even better. Your confidence is restored and you feel like a woman again.

My problem with the picture painted above is that confidence is restored not because of the content of her character but because of her body.  Every woman wants to know that she is beautiful but it should not be the source of her total self-worth. When the first thing men notice about you is your body, they sometimes aren’t interested in getting to know the rest of you. They may spend time with you but they are really spending time with your body. Beyonce even underscores this when she sings, “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.” Why didn’t she use the word “me”? because she was referring to her body. This might have been the problem with her prior boyfriend.

Overall I think this song is fine. Its catchy and the message is mostly positive but the details are a little shady.

Lyrics:

All the Single Ladies, all the single ladies
Now put your hands up

Up in the club, just broke up
I’m doing my own little thing
Decided to dip, now you gonna trip, another brother noticed me
I’m up on him, he up on me, don’t pay him any attention
Cause I cried my tears, gave him three good years, can’t be mad at me

If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it…oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it…oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

I got gloss on my lips
A man on my hips
Got me tighter in my Dereon jeans
Acting up, breaking my cup
I can care less what you think
I need no permission, did I mention, don’t pay him any attention
Cause you had your turn, now you gonna learn, what it really feels like to miss me

If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it (repeat)
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it

Don’t treat me to these things of the world
I’m not that kinda girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve
Here’s a man that makes me, then takes me, and delivers me to a destiny to infinity and beyond
Pull me into your arms
Say I’m the one you want
If you don’t then, you’ll be alone, and like a ghost I’ll be gone

All the Single Ladies, all the single ladies
Now put your hands up
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don’t be mad when you see that he want it
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it