Music & More Music

October 4, 2010

Beyonce Knowles “If I Were a Boy” Featuring R. Kelly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Chang @ 2:36 am

If I Were a Boy Featuring R. Kelly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjLNGlHmITs

Lead singer to the former group Destiny’s Child, known as an American pop and R&B singer and song writer, actress, fashion designer and how can we forget, married to one of the most influential rapper and businessman, Shawn Corey Carter, also known as Jay-Z.  What else can we say about Beyonce Knowles?  As lead singer and one of main members, Knowles started a new era of music with Destiny’s Child.  Because of her vocals, Destiny’s Child first album, The Writing’s on the Wall sold over eight million copies.  From there, she and the group continued to grow in exponential portions.  With Knowles amazing vocal skill, creative song writing and luminous personality, landed her six Grammy Awards, endorsed by multiple top brand companies such as Pepsi and Armani and listed as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Known as one of the Greatest Artist of All Time, Knowles produced yet another hit single, “If I Were a Boy”.  Though Knowles did not write the song, she co-produced with one of the writers and her voice made it into a top single in over seven different European countries and top five on the Billboard Hot 100.  Mostly written by BC Jean and co-written by Toby Gad, “If I Were a Boy” was the only track on “I Am… Sasha Fierce” that Knowles did not co-write.  There were also many different remix; I have chosen my favorite version which features another well-known R&B artist, R. Kelly. 

The song is set in a moderate tempo of about 90 beats per minute.  Beyonce Knowles starts the song acappella, “If I were a boy…” as the guitar and keyboard comes in.  She continues as the drums comes in on “Drink beer with the guys”, causing a stronger push and begins the song.  The intros starts low and a little slow even after the drums come in on the second verse until the first set of chorus begins.  The chorus begins “If I were a boy…”,which is sung slightly louder and with her vocals becoming more powerful and again on “I’d listen to her, Cause I know how it hurts, When you lose the one you wanted, cause he’s taking you for granted, And everything you had got destroyed”.  As the first set of chorus ends, R. Kelly’s verse begins, which starts similar to how the intro is sung, “If you were a boy”, which starts soft as the guitar and keyboard plays in the background and drums come in after, “ So I go to clubs with the guys…”.  The song continues which a similar beat and tones in every verse and chorus.  What is also interesting about this piece is that it has an R&B sound with a touch of a ballet. 

BC Jean, one of the song writers, was inspired from a break-up that she went through.  The song is about a female knowing she could do a better job in a relationship if she were the boyfriend.  Jean emphasizes that the boyfriend is unreasonable and treats the relationship casually without thinking about the girlfriend’s feelings.  And with R. Kelly’s version, it makes this song is no ordinary remix.  Obviously it was made after the original but it was made to sound like a duet which what make this remix interesting and addicting to listen to.  Another reason what makes this remix amazing, is the meaning of the lyrics and how it is made.  R. Kelly’s verses are made to sound like he is defending himself to Knowles verses. 

The song starts with the original intro,

If I were a boy

Even just for a day

I’d roll out of bed in the morning

And throw on what I wanted and go

 Knowles begins the song what a stereotypical guy would do, not caring what he would wear after getting out of bed. 

Drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls

I’d kick it with who I wanted

And I’d never get confronted for it

Cause they stick up for me

She continues that no matter whom the boyfriend is with or what he does, no one will say anything because his friends would defend whatever he is doing.  And then the chorus goes back to what she would really do if she were a boy.

 If I were a boy

I think I could understand

How it feels to love a girl

I swear I’d be a better man

I’d listen to her

Cause I know how it hurts

When you lose the one you wanted

Cause he’s taking you for granted

And everything you had got destroyed

 Rather than having a good time with random girls or going out with the guys, the singer is saying that she would be more understanding and would never take the relationship and the girlfriend for granted, if she were the boy.  R. Kelly’s verses begin as if he is the boyfriend and defends himself and his “wrong doings”.  Also, an interesting note that stands out in his first verse is his first line, “If you were a boy”, where we finally hear the transition of gender and his argument as the boyfriend. 

If you were a boy

The girl, you’d understand

You need to stop listening to your friends

Love, respect and trust your man

 So I go to clubs with the guys

And sometimes flirt with the girls

I should be able to roll out

As long as I’m coming home to you

And give you the world

An interesting part of the song is how where R. Kelly’s verses come in.  He gives a convincing argument in whatever typical boyfriend does.  No matter what the boyfriend doing, he will still always go home to the girlfriend and everything he does, is innocent and the girl should trust the boyfriend.   As the song continues there is a melody and almost like a conversation between the singers, Knowles goes back to sing what a stereotypical boyfriend would do and R. Kelly’s character would defend himself,

Knowles: I would turn off my phone

R. Kelly:  I wouldn’t pay games

Knowles:  Tell everyone it’s broken, so they’d think I was sleeping lone.

R. Kelly:  Girl you know that’s wrong

Finally, the song finishes with the original track with a few back-up vocals from R. Kelly.  The main idea that the writer and Knowles try to convey is that the boyfriend acts more casual in the relationship and the female go through an emotional stress because of it.  It is obvious that the song is about a man cheating on his girlfriend however the interesting twist of the song is written from the female point of view which makes the version more interesting because both Knowles and R. Kelly contradicts and defends both arguments.

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21 Comments

  1. It’s very interesting to analyze a remix created after a song was released. I like how you show us the way that R. Kelly’s contributions become like a duet, a call and response between the female and male perspectives.

    Your analysis of the lyrics is very astute. I’d love to read more about how the music itself supports (or creates tension with) the message of the song. I’m also wondering how the vocal delivery of either singer works, sonically, to convey emotion and meaning.

      Amy Herzog — October 13, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

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