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February 12, 2009

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Sasha Fierce-Jones

We can agree to disagree about Sasha Frere-Jones. David Remnick and I like him, and I’m increasingly convinced we’re alone in that regard. But few critics derive as much pleasure from discussing pop trifles, or do it with as much pizzazz. Clearly I was not about to let his paean to Beyonce go unremarked. Best observation: “‘Single Ladies’ is an infectious, crackling song and would be without fault if it weren’t the bearer of such dull advice. The wild R&B vampire Sasha is advocating marriage? What’s next, a sultry, R-rated defense of low sodium soy sauce?”

Low-sodium soy sauce! Swish!

Posted February 12, 2009 at 9:09 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Music


I've been pretty outspoken about SFJ's faults, and they are many. But I've always admitted that he's at his best writing about "pop auteurs" - Mariah Carey, R. Kelly, and Beyoncé. He is not always right, but he is often smart and always fun.

And, I love Beyoncé. So I'm preconditioned to enjoy this. BUT. Since I am also preconditioned to believe that SFJ is wrong about everything, let me debate his gloss on "Single Ladies." It's really a song about the pleasures of dominating and being dominated. Sasha Fierce doesn't wish that you had married her. She's berating you, even after she's already out the door, because you didn't even try. There is a world of difference. It's closer to Kelis's "Milkshake" or the movie Secretary than a lovelorn ballad. And what does the imagined lover offer? It's not marriage. It's making her and taking her, delivering her to her destiny, pulling her into your arms and saying she's the one you own. Sasha Fierce's secret is that she bottoms from the top.

Just noticed the headline on this one. Nicely done, Matt.

Etta James still owns "At Last".

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