Beyoncé: cultural theorist

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As if Ne-Yo's ego wasn't swollen enough, he goes and writes my favorite Beyonce single by some distance. The thwackety arrangement of "Irreplaceable" is a disappointment, but the star gets a lyric blaringly subtle enough to suit her blaring voice. "I could have another you in a minute/Matter of fact he'll be here in a minute," she shouts in Sean Carter's ear, as if she was singer enough to persuade us she was referring to a fictional lover. This is no "Express Yourself" or Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," dependent upon empowerment platitudes; Beyonce, who evidently saves every receipt, equates independence with the name monogrammed on the handbag. I suppose it's the unmitigated vulgarity of so much contemporary R&B and hip-hop which repulses young music fans, driving them to seek the ascetic pleasures of Wolf Eyes and the Junior Boys; but Beyonce understands the relationship-as-capital-investment model as well as Gang of Four, and her guitar sound is just as noisome.

This post is dedicated to the late Milton Friedman. R.I.P.

(crosslisted with A Grand Illusion)