Thursday, October 1, 2009

16. Beyonce "Crazy in Love" (2003)

In his book, Killing Yourself to Live, Chuck Klosterman writes about what it was like hearing "Crazy in Love" way back in 2003, when it was still Beyonce's new single:
There is a new song on Top 40 radio right now that's so good I want to kill myself. I'm not sure why exceptionally good hip-hop singles make me want to commit suicide, but they often do. I don't know what the title of the song is, but it's that religious woman with the perfect stomach from Destiny's Child and Jay-Z doing a duet featuring a horn riff from the '70s that I've never heard before (but that sounds completely familiar), and the chorus is something along the lines of, "Your love is driving me crazy right now/ I'm kind of hoping you'll page me right now." It's also possible that Jay-Z compares himself to Golden State Warriors guard Nick Van Exel during the last verse, but I can't be positive.

ANYWAY, by the time you read this sentence, the song I am referring to will be ten thousand years old. You will have heard it approximately 15,000 times, and you might hate it, and I might hate it, too. But right now -- today -- I am living for this song. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing that matters as much as hearing it on the radio; I am interested in nothing beyond Beyonce Knowles's voice. All I do is scan the FM dial for hours at a time, trying to find it.
"Crazy in Love" was probably the third song that sprung to my mind when I began compiling this list at the beginning of the year. I, like Klosterman, was obsessed with the song when it first came out. The fanfare of the Chi-Lites horn sample made me want to jump up and down in place, while badly singing along with Ms. Knowles.

Even when in Destiny's Child, Beyonce was always the de facto soloist, while the ever-rotating members of the group were just her back-up singers. But "Crazy in Love" was Beyonce's first proper solo single, and it needed to establish her as singular entity, apart from the fame she gained with Destiny's Child. By being a critical and commercial blockbuster, "Crazy in Love" did one better and established Beyonce as the female performer of the 2000s.

Unfortunately, it hasn't aged so well for me. But that's largely due to its ubiquity. I don't doubt that in a few years, after we've been apart for a while, "Crazy in Love" will make me jump around like an idiot, again.

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