Beyonce: Occasionally Sloppy Vocally

Beyonce

Unquestionably, Beyonce is one of the most phenomenal performers in history.   She’s also a very good singer.  During live performances, however, she sometimes devotes more focus to performing than she does to ensuring she’s giving her best vocals.  While one will never view a live Beyonce performance and honestly come away from it saying it was not crunk, one can sometimes come away from her live performances and say the vocals were not her best.  Because she’s so invested in her dance moves, she does not realize she occasionally screams instead of modulating with skill.  The most recent example of this was during her halftime performance at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.  Although Beyonce had an amazing halftime performance at Super Bowl XLVII, her singing suffered from her dominant concentration on her dancing.

It’s not often that Mrs. Knowles-Carter is sloppy with her singing, but it shouldn’t be overlooked when she is.

Beyonce

One of the unusual times when she did a horrible job singing in the studio is on the “Halo” track.  While she’s not even close to declining as a vocalist as Alicia Keys is, it’s important for those who support her, as I do, to offer her fair criticism about the times when she does not meet the standard of excellence she has set.  On the “Halo” track, the critical listener has an opportunity to hear Beyonce sounding throughout the song like she’s simply talking.  Instead of relying on her great vocal prowess, she’s vocally lazy on this song.  While some artists sound really good using their natural speaking voice, her natural speaking voice is not one of her strengths.  When she, therefore, relies too heavily on her natural speaking voice, the song will not be a quality one; “Halo” is the classic example.

Even though I assert that “Halo” is Beyonce’s worst song ever, it has been tremendously successful (as evidenced by just one “Halo” video on YouTube having over 158 million views).  In examining her oeuvre, I have not discovered any songs where she’s as sloppy vocally as she is on “Halo.”  This speaks to her greatness, considering the same cannot be said for the majority of the current celebrated singers.

Do you like Beyonce’s “Halo”?  What is your least favorite Beyonce song?  Do you disagree with my assessment of Beyonce?  Why or why not?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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5 comments

  1. I LOVE Beyonce because she is a very sexy, talented and smart African American woman. I’ve always been a fan of hers since Destiny Child. While I can agree she is not much of a vocalist but the girl got skills. She climbed up the ladder and she did it because of her God given talents. She belt out songs but the melody is not there. I love old school singing like Etta James, Chaka Kahn, Anita Baker and of course Whitney House. Those girls can SANG in their own way. I have sooo many favorite songs of hers though. Great topic.

    1. I love her too. She’s certainly not perfect but she’s a phenomenal talent. I think she has so much more potential to do greater things. I, too, love Whitney, Etta, Anita, and Chaka — truly great vocalists. Beyonce is the ultimate performer. She always gives her fans their money’s worth.

  2. Reading this made me want to listen to ‘Halo’ again and I tell you what, it just sounds like she is screaming. Even though i’m more a Destiny’s Child fan than Beyoncé, I feel like the only reason why I liked that song was because Michael Walt was in the video. I’ve never vocally been a fan of Beyoncé but she’s good at what she does. I always say that the songs she sings are written especially for her type of voice. Her worst songs in my opinion, ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Run the World Girls’.

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