With “Single Ladies” Beyoncé gave the world “a dance craze that requires little more than the deployment of jazz hands with a wrist twist.” NPR’09 It helped that the song was accompanied by a “stunning, iconic black and white video” AB’00 which featured Beyoncé and two other dancers. It was famously lampooned on Saturday Night Live by Justin Timberlake and launched more than a few parodies on YouTube. Rapper Kanye West thought it so worthy of attention that he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the Video Music Awards to tell the world so.
With a message “as complicated as half a decade of psychotherapy,” TM the song captured the persona of Beyoncé as a woman “who won’t settle for less than the best.” TM She “sounds like a total pro: contained, on-message,” NPR’09 as she issues “her definitive statement for ladies stuck in limbo with a dude who can’t commit.” RS’09
Musically, “Single Ladies” “encapsulates the lessons pop songs have picked up from hip-hop: that a great beat and a great voice can carry a lot of weight, that a slightly sour sound (the little electronic swoop that keeps tugging at the song’s fringe) can make everything else sweeter, that looping your audience into a hook is a great idea.” TM
The song also established The-Dream and Tricky Stewart as “the premier pop songwriters and producers of the late 2000s” NPR’09 and even let Beyoncé “stake a claim to the title Queen of Pop,” NPR’09 even if the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry were waiting in line to swipe it from her.
- one of the top 1000 songs of all time
- one of the top 100 song of the 21st century
- DMDB song of the year
- Grammy Award for Song of the Year
- one of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world
- one of the top 100 videos of all time according to the DMDB
- one of the top 100 R&B songs of all time
Resources and Related Links:
- the DMDB page for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”
- Beyoncé’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
- ID Idolator.com (11/23/09) NPR’s Songs of the Decade from Boy Bands to “Single Ladies”. By Becky Bain.
- NPR’09 NPR.org (11/9-20/09) The Decade in Music: ‘00s
- RS’09 Rolling Stone (12/9/09). “Songs of the Decade” (12/9/09).
- TM Time magazine (10/24/2011) All-TIME 100 Songs”. By various writers.