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Beyoncé - 'Sweet Dreams'

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Vicki Vicki | 09:55 UK time, Saturday, 25 July 2009


What do Zac Efron and Beyoncé Knowles have in common? Well, other an array of totally inappropriate dance moves and Efron seeming to be a corporate robot and Knowles looking like one in her new vid, they have both felt the need to scream on their songs in recent times.

And trust me, Efron's embarrassingly half-hearted attempt, that makes him sound like he's just discovered a really good shampoo (see High School Musical 3 for details, or y'know, because it's good) is rather outdone by Beyoncé's banshee wail, which you could use to actually remove ears, should the need arise.

Indeed, what with the scream, the dark, horror-type music, the pumping heartbeat, the equally spooky lullaby, the screech of an electric guitar, oh and the fact that Ms Knowles herself starts to LEVITATE in the video (and a white dove is involved. Really), I have to be honest: for the first 30 seconds of her new video, I thought that I was watching some '80s magician, with a Knowles soundtrack and that it was all a big fat fake.

But no.

The song really does start like this.


(Here's the video. Two words: David Copperfield)

After the intro though, things (thankfully) move away from the Hallowe'en cheese and into familiar Beyoncé territory (right from the fact it's proper '80s pop through to the video essentially being 'Single Ladies' with Beyoncé and 2 dancers), but like all good spooky films, you never get too far from that underlying dark feel established in the beginning. And you know what? It really, really works.

As usual with the 'Yonce, it all stands or falls on her voice. In this case it's her ability to sound so beautiful and soft, yet strong and powerful, in order to convey the dilemma in the song - she's torn between whether her love is a "sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare", and she SOUNDS it (even if the video is slightly GCSE in its 'black=bad / white=good' interpretation).

My only real niggle is that I want more. MORE! After the spine-tingling, thrilling impact of the first chorus, the song becomes predictable and doesn't really go anywhere; the song sort of just trails out at the end and loses the initial excitement, which is a real shame. Plus that whole "turn the lights out!" thing becomes pretty cringe by the end.

So yes, the video is terrible, and yes, I want the song to do more. It doesn't change the fact that overall, this is actually very, very good. It may not be forever remembered and hailed as her finest, more memorable work, but for me it's one of the best things I've heard from her since 'Crazy In Love'. Really.

Plus that scream... Man, that's something to behold. Mr Efron, take note.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: August 10th
BBC Music page

(Vicki Lutas)

PS. I still love you Zac. Even if you cannot convey raw emotion.


  • Comment number 1.

    Oh no! Only 4 stars? I have to disagree!

    This IS a five star song. I actually love it, but I love Beyoncé more!

    She's the most perfect thing that ever did exist. Ever.

    I love the video too and I think Beyoncé does the best 'just dancing' videos around (As opposed to JLS...).

    I bet she's gutted that Lady Gaga got her Paparazzi video out first though, what with the gold robot suit, it seems 'The Yonce' is copying her.

    To condlude: 5 stars from me, Lush video. I am in love with Beyoncé and will be seeing her in concert in November where I believe she will marry me.

    Beyoncé? Marry Me?

    *Sigh*.. Beyoncé....

  • Comment number 2.


    How come my accentuated E's aren't working!!

    Beyonce just doesn't look the same

  • Comment number 3.

    OK lets get straight to the point !

    This is a fantastic pop song.

    Performance , vocal delivery , chorus , instrumentation , video , all of the highest calibre .

    The main chorus hook is pop gold ! Superb chorus.

    Everything in this song works perfectly .

    If I were a boy
    Single ladies
    Sweet Dreams

    These four singles are all superb pop singles , of a very high standard.

    Credit to Beyonce's team , her last four songs and her performance and delivery are a masterclass in the pop field .

    To get your fourth single from an album into the TOP TEN of the UK singles chart on downloads alone , is a testament to the appeal of a great song.

    5 STARS !

  • Comment number 4.

    After having seen the video several times , but reading in the review..

    "So yes the video is terrible . "

    My own take on this video is somewhat different .

    In this superbly eye catching video , Beyonce has her doppelgangers , the wonderful Ebony Williams and Ashley Everett , really push those dancing moves to a superb effect.

    Even I can see the choreography and effects in this video , are world class !

    As soon as this video was available , the major music stations were clambering over each other to play this video on their station.

    The previous video with Ashley and Ebony "Single ladies " has won countless video awards and was voted the Rolling Stone Best single of 2008 .(A big accolade indeed and the video played a huge part ! )

    The brilliance of the Sweet dreams video is why the music stations have all been playing it way before the release of the single

    This eye popping and adventurous video is the most played video in the uk , for a song yet to have a physical release.

    I am not even a huge Beyonce fan , but I have to admit , myself and it seems every major music t.v station in the U,K , think this video is absolutely top drawer !

  • Comment number 5.

    Danny: the most perfect thing that ever did exist, ever, is not Beyonce but Pop Tarts.

    (Off to St. Petersburg now!)

  • Comment number 6.

    Her records have got progressively worse since her career began. She is a tone deaf singer. The little girls next door to me wail her songs religiously. It is similar to the noise when the cats are in the mating season. Why doesn't she use autotune like everyone else? I am surprised that she is still hitting the top ten with these terrible tracks. Beyonce, je deteste votre music! c'est crap, n'est pas?

  • Comment number 7.

    Ok, Bling-Bwoy, I'm hoping you're being sarcastic here because everything you've said is just wrong. No two ways about it. You're wrong. (Except for the little girls wailing her songs... I don't know if that's true or not...)

    The Video is fantastic, I can't help but to fall deeper and deeper in love with her (I could watch her with the sound off). I like to think of Ebony and Ashley as Beyonce's dancers not just 'backing dancers'.

    (I believe Ashley is currently on the I Am... Tour with Beyonce.)

    The choreography is superb, and the effects are great. I don't think this video would work with backing dancers we hadn't seen before, it'd make it bland. They're kinda like Beyonce's Harajuku Girls (On a side note... What was Gwen Stefani thinking with them?!) I hope they make more appearances in the future!

    Pop Tarts are a close, Second Fluffy! Have fun in Russia! That's where St. Petersburg is, right?

    Much love!


  • Comment number 8.

    I dont know about anybody else here, but I could instantly hear the similar basline to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" from the start.

    That was no problem really. But I immediately started to lose faith, following the initial shock when "turn the lights on" was burst out. At the point when I heard it repeated, I'd already heard enough.

    And the video too... I'm also losing faith in Beyonce's creativity, because it seems she just cant let go of the hype surrounding the 'Single Ladies' video. Beyonce and her 2 dancing companions- yes its become her signature thing, but it shouldn't outstay its welcome.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think if she releases another song with a similar video, then that'll be too much. But 2 seems kinda right.

    The song is a dance song rather than a pop song I feel. If we look at it through pop eyes, It aint good. But through dance eyes, It's fantastic. The bass line, the chorus, all make for perfect clubbing.

    If anybody's seen the Broken Hearted Girl video (Youtube it, if you haven't), you'll notice she uses the same bloke as in Halo - Thought that was interesting, since she uses the same dancers. I wonder if there's a reason?

    Digressing... I REALLY hope she releases Radio from her album.

  • Comment number 10.

    Another big question , of course is ....

    Where is Fluffy ?

    If indeed , she is in Russia , and she is taking time out to chat to Chartblog , then we should all feel very honoured .

    Maybe , if I end the sentence with ellipses , she will shed some light on precedings .......... hope so !

  • Comment number 11.

    Mmmmmmmmmm, Zac Efron...

  • Comment number 12.

    this song should be 5 stars :) x

  • Comment number 13.

    Totally agree that this is a five star song , and that the video is not "terrible " as the review states .

    To further credit this excellent video , last week Sweet Dreams by Beyonce was the most played video in the UK , with 530 plays !!

    Yes , number 1 , in the T.V airplay chart.

    I am sure the t.v channels know what they are doing.

    It really is a masterclass . Superb stuff !

  • Comment number 14.

    Just to further stress the fact that this video is quite clearly fantastic and not "terrible " as the review suggests .. the Beyonce video Sweet dreams has now been NUMBER 1 in the t.v airplay chart for the last 4 weeks !

    The song is in the top 5 , and the video is superb !

  • Comment number 15.

    Both single and album are both in the top 5 !

    What a wonderful year it's been for Beyonce !

  • Comment number 16.

    Turn the light on. Cringe indeed. Thats beyond cringe, its downright annoying. Especially as the song goes on. It ruins a perfectly average pop song. Perfectly average. Yes. Average. Like Halo (see below). Its an average, unoriginal, mish mash of old Beyonce stuff. Its not offensive, turn the lights on aside, she sings it well and I do actually quite like the video. However its average at best. 3 stars. Max. Make it 2 for the turnthelightson.

    To claify, Halo, isnt a good song. Nobody will ever convince me otherwsise.

    Cue Beyonce fan wrath!

  • Comment number 17.


    I have lost track for how many weeks in a row it is now .

    Not bad for a "terrible " video .

    Go Beyonce !


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