With the release of back-to-back acclaimed albums and four solo number one hits on the Hot 100 under the name Beyoncé, the idea of introducing a second persona seemed genius — especially if it meant breaking more ground in the music industry. But her stage name wasn’t meant to be a permanent laminate.
Sasha Fierce — Bey’s former alter ego — was the force that jumped out moments before the matchless entertainer stepped on stage. She told Oprah in a 2008 interview that Sasha emerged when she heard the chords and when she put on her stilettos.
Instantly after getting into formation, the mighty diva’s stance became more sickening and a refined performer was born, unleashing her fury on whatever stage she had booked.
The spirit of Beyoncé’s on-stage character lived through the second disc of her double album I Am… Sasha Fierce, which arrived in November 2008. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” a catchy female anthem that took the world by storm, headed the eight-track deluxe edition of upbeat, energetic and feisty solos. For four weeks the Grammy-winning song topped the Billboard Hot 100, making it her last solo hit in 10 years.
Even though disc-two had its moments of confidence and female gallantry, I Am… calls attention to Beyoncé’s brilliance as a singer who can expand her beautiful vocal range.
Contrary to the lively second half, which yielded pop R&B stylings, the first set found batches of acoustic ballads and slow-burning records that matched the broad performer’s signature sound with staples of stripped down, lush guitar and string arrangements.
To praise Beyoncé’s cadences on this Grammy-winning work, Rated R&B has decided to rank disc-one of I Am… Sasha Fierce from least favorite to best vocal performance.
Longing for a stronger signal from her lover in vulnerable times, Beyoncé doesn’t want distance to weaken their connection. She refrains precisely in between the chorus and verses, applying ample harmony on the solar score.
7. “Broken-Hearted Girl”
The piano-charged song is classic Bey, but with an exposed worry in her voice that is unfamiliar. With her spirits not completely damaged, she musters up the strength to speak up and speak out against the ill-treatment endured by the actions of her deceitful man.
This cathartic recording finds Beyoncé delighting in ‘70s British blues, and making it fit gloriously with her refined signature tone. She uses the vanishing tune to think about her wrongdoings from a faded relationship.
5. “If I Were a Boy”
On the gender-reversing track, Beyoncé wears the pants of her unsympathetic man who now has to face the music. With every strong belt and gut groan, she points out all the hard-hearted acts he exhibits consistently towards her.
4. “That’s Why You’re Beautiful”
Upheld by thundering guitars and a blaring drum set, the country-tinged ballad listens to Beyoncé’s divinely rich voice offer clear-cut proof to her better half on why his love makes him astonishing in her eyes.
In angelic form, Beyoncé uses this grand ballad to sing amazingly about gazing upon the radiant glow of her soulmate. With every heavenly inflection and beautifully thought-out wail, the solo sends you (and her) to glory.
2. “Smash into You”
If you ever doubted Beyoncé’s vocal abilities, she made you rethink your decision with this number, which played during the closing-credits of Obsessed. Flawlessly attacking this powerful love song with all her vocal might, Beyoncé excites listeners to run at top speed in the arms of their significant others.
1. “Ave Maria”
Without question, this intimate serenade is one of the purest love songs to date in Beyoncé’s catalog. Drawing from the most artless and naive periods of her romantic narrative, the words that flowed from her gifted music box seem to come naturally. Her clean emphasis on particular words and crisp pitch made this record hauntingly smashing.
Revisit I Am… Sasha Fierce in full below.
Follow An’Twane on Twitter at @iam_antwane.