Yeah OK, 'Crazy In Love' is great. The driving horns pump you up high, the bump and grind bring you down low. Repeat with increasing returns. Jay-Z's rap makes the beat even funkier, and the brass goes positively shoegaze at the end. BUT. There's something about the chorus that is a bit... uncrazy. It's kinda docile. There is no big ridiculous diva moment where the vocal overloads the track -- where personality asserts itself. The closest we get to that is the bridge ("baby you're MA-AKING a fool of me!") and it's just not enough for me. I need more Beyoncé.

Hence, 'Irreplaceable'. At first listen a much simpler song -- clever drum pattern, strummed guitar. But its genius is that lyrically it is an enormously inflated and egotistical kiss-off anthem, while musically it is a break-up ballad. Beyoncé isn't shouting, she's crooning. This isn't an argument, it's an internal monologue. She's putting on a front. She's taunting, cruel, invincible -- her next lover will be here in a minute! But her voice is quivering, semi-hysterical. She's falling apart. There is a deadening finality in her resolution to "be NOTHING", and the final jab: "replacing you is so easy" just sounds petty and feeble.

But this is not where the story ends. The second round of "To the left! To the left!" heralds an almost imperceptable shift in tone. There is a build. The chorus sounds bigger. It's like there is more conviction behind it. Beyoncé starts believing that, actually, she IS invincible. There is no hesitation to "you can pack all your bags, we're finished / You made your bed now lay in it". This IS an argument. The song goes from doubt to certainty, weakness to strength. It ends with a beautifully composed melismatic vocal line. Beyoncé finds serenity. She starts to believe the lies she is telling herself, until eventually, the lies become true.

'Irreplaceable' is about transforming yourself. Being confronted with how small and insignificant (how replaceable) you are will cripple you. The only way to deal with that is to convince yourself that you ARE, in fact, irrepaceable, despite the evidence. The final twist in the drama is that for Beyoncé to feel this way, she must first begin by denying others the right to feel this way. The lies that establish your self-confidence are about how others are worse than you are. The 'truth' the song reaches is fragile. If psychological serenity is built on destroying someone else's, the cycle will continue. Beyoncé will just have her heart broken again. Buried within the triumph at the end of the song is a dark secret -- humanity's unwavering impulse towards hierarchy, and the impossibility of true love.

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