Beyoncé may be a married lady now, but she's still all caught up in the drama of love's first glances and final door slams. It's refreshing that she's staying in character: When artists such as Mary J. Blige start making music about how happy they are with their chubby hubbies, it may be sincere, but it also serves the function of feeding the tabloids. Beyoncé and her Hova have always kept business and pleasure separate, which imparts dignity to their relationship -- and lets her be an artist first, a personality second.
Beyoncé's emotional reserve also allows for hits that still appeal to her core fan base of independent women. "Irreplaceable" was a masterpiece of that ilk, the finger-wagging summation of mercenary, "Sex and the City"-style post-feminism. That song made Beyoncé pop's Chairwoman of the Board, as worldly wise and merciless about love as Sinatra was in the wee small hours of the morning.
Her new club banger, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," elaborates on "Irreplaceable's" theme of love as sport, if not war; sounding a lot like a Destiny's Child song, it has Beyoncé doing call-and-response with her backup singers over a rump-shaking beat provided by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. More than most female singers, Beyoncé understands the funky art of singing rhythmically, and this is a prime example.