So here we have Beyoncé on Saturday Night Live, performing “If I Were a Boy” with a cheerfully aggro all-female version of the Dirtbombs, two drummers drumming, three singers taunting, four calling birds, eight lords a-leaping, etc. This is a pretty fantastic song, actually, its melancholy melody somewhat subsumed here though by both her habit of staring down the camera and, yes, the wind machine. Also, to be blunt, the most dramatic thing about this performance is the constant looming threat of disastrous wardrobe malfunction.
Of course here’s the video everyone rightly seized on. As Weird Al taught us long ago, the greatest compliment you can pay the far peppier “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” — and the video especially — is that it’s already inspired a top-shelf parody. (Would Justin Timberlake’s permanent residence on this show make it actually tolerable? Oh yes.) That she performed the song pretty much straight about 15 minutes later is kind of odd, maybe, but dig the false-ending faux-headbang finale. Nonetheless, dollars to donuts Solange’s album still turns out to be better.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 17, 2008