Recently I have been listening to the music of Beyoncé, and everything about her begs the question: what's not to like?
-She has an astonishing voice, with superb rhythm, a wide range of color, a great sense of rubato and portamento (and knowing when to use them), and great *range. Nothing is sacrificed when she performs live -- where others lip sync during difficult dance routines, Beyoncé doesn't drop a beat.
-She has a gorgeous figure, and knows it, but never appears to flaunt it. We're looking, from every angle, and that's just fine with her. And one more thing: she has legs to rival Tina Turner.
-She's a wonderful dancer. Watching her perform 'Deja Vu' at the 2006 World Music Awards gave me chills.
-She is a credible actress. Her Foxxy Cleopatra with Mike Myers's Austin Powers was good stuff. My kids and I loved it.
-She is a generous performer, preferring to share the stage with other women, including her all-female band. (Are there fewer women guitarists than women conductors?) On her recordings, she often shares the spotlight with her husband, Jay-Z. In Dreamgirls, she shared top billing with Jennifer Hudson, who got most of the attention.
-She is a beautiful woman.
-She has a commanding presence, and a powerful stage charisma. No matter how many performers are on stage with her, our eyes always go back to Beyoncé.
-She lives an exemplary private life, devoid of drama. The tabloids have nothing on her. After a quiet courtship of a half dozen years, she married a few years ago. When she began to embark on her solo career, there were no cries for Destiny's Child. And from time to time, as is her wont, Beyoncé brings Miss Rowland and Miss Williams back to sing a song.
As I said . . . what's not to like?
* In this acoustically intimate version of "Halo," she goes from a high F down to a low c . . . yes: the low c an octave below middle C. Believe it: