Hidden Gems: Beyonce
Written by Wise Ellis on May 8, 2017
Image courtesy of Billboard
For the first installment of Hidden Gems, I had to start with the Queen Bey. Beyoncé is the best performer and entertainer of our generation, and for those same reasons and others, the artist of my life. Despite worldwide popularity, a fiercely loyal fandom and sold-out stadium tours, she has some overlooked and underappreciated songs and performances that deserve some shine. If you consider yourself a member of the Beyhive like I do, then you may be familiar with these hidden gems already. But, for those of you who don’t know Beyonce beyond the Superbowl and Grammys performances, here are a few underrated Beyoncé songs and performances that solidify her seat on the throne.
1. “Schoolin’ Life” – 4
First let me mention that for some arcane reason, Beyonce’s fourth studio album 4 is severely unappreciated. 4 was the first album Beyonce released after firing her career-long manager and father, Matthew Knowles. And it shows: 4 was the shift in Beyonce’s career that led her to become the artist she in today. The song “Schoolin’ Life” has been one of my favorite Beyonce songs since its release on her deluxe version of 4. It is a feel-good song if I’ve ever heard one. “Schoolin’ Life” is all about enjoying yourself at every stage of life.
2. “Standing on the Sun”- H&M
“Standing on the Sun” was originally released to be featured in a H&M commercial. Unfortunately, the song was never officially released as a single, but it definitely should have been. A remixed version featuring Mr. Vegas is available on the Platinum Edition of Beyonce with other additional songs and live performances from the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. In the stunning music video that accompanied the song, Beyonce is dancing in the sand of a beautiful beach with her hair waving in the wind. “Standing on the Sun” always makes me feel like summer.
3. “Grown Woman” – (Bonus Video) – Beyonce
“Grown Woman” is another girl anthem, which the Queen Bey is known for. However, this song isn’t widely known. The song was never officially released as a single. Most recognize the song from her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour where she performed the song live. The song is about being a grown adult woman and having the confidence and strength to live your life the way you choose. The video was released with all the other music videos that accompany the songs on her fifth studio album, Beyonce.
4. “The Beautiful Ones” / “Sex on Fire” – Glastonbury Festival 2011
This cover mash-up of Prince’s “Beautiful Ones”, and Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” is nothing short of amazing. Beyonce’s display of emotion is impeccable; you can physically feel the passion and longing she is expressing. This performance is one of her best ever. Beyonce was first woman in nearly 20 years to headline the festival in 2011 and she made sure to represent for the ladies. If you haven’t seen the entire show, you definitely should, if you aren’t in the Beyhive already, this will make you want to give a vial of blood and a lock of hair from your first born child for an all-access pass.
5. “I Been On”/ “Bow Down” – Beyonce
You may recognize “Bow Down” as the first half of the song “***Flawless” from Beyonce’s self-titled album. However, the Beyhive remembers the song from the Mrs. Carter Show Tour promo video. During this time, Beyonce had just given birth to her first daughter, Blue Ivy, and she was coming back to the game determined to prove that she hadn’t lost her spot on the throne. And there is no better way to remind the world of your queendom than literally being a queen. But it’s the song itself I love. The first half, “I Been On”, is fully chopped and screwed Houston-style. I must say I am not a fan of chopped and screwed music, but something about Beyonce’s voice and her ability to ride the beat so well that works for me. The second half, “Bow Down” is a lyrical reminder to all the up and coming artists that Beyonce has been successful in the music industry for a long time and deserves all the respect and accolades she receives.