Rescuing Beyonce’s ‘1+1’
posted on June 2nd, 2011

Beyonce has apparently had a pile of trouble with her new ballad ‘1+1’, which is possibly being shelved after an exceptionally poor reaction on American Idol or some such. It also got a mauling on Nihal’s Radio 1 review show; unexpected since she’s usually impregnable and over again, the critics were left with the painful “I love Beyonce but…” gambit.

But just one simple lyric change would rescue the whole song. Seriously, if you know anyone who works with Ms Knowles, tell her this, urgently: they need to alter the chorus line of “Make love to me”, repeated over and over, for something non-sexual and oriented back towards the longing of the verse lyrics.

My pick would immediately be “Make time for me” sung to the same melody, with the same passion, which, although it seems pretty cheesy / mainstream on first listen, is actually very unusual – and I can’t remember ever being used in that way for a slow hit ballad.

Thing is, it’s a song about assuaging loneliness, so when the “make love to me” chorus kicks in, it undermines the sentiment and makes the listener put the song into a different box – while at the same time we have no choice but to feel a bit taken aback by the shift from supportive need to sexual need. I reckon this – and only this – is why the song is struggling.

Nothing else needs to change. The arrangement, verses and production are great; unconventional and brilliant. People keep saying ‘Prince-like’. But it needs the clean, powerful uplift of a non-sex chorus. Then it becomes like Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’, a piece for universal emotional steadying, instead of bonking your way out of trouble.

I’m right – and if they listen to me they’ll smash it.

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© Chris T-T 2008–2013
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