If I Were a Boy
The act of an artist doing a “cover” of another artist’s song is nothing unfamiliar to us. It has been occurring for quite some time. As new generations arise and new genres are being developed many artists turn back to the past for inspiration. There are hundreds of cover songs and some have been hits while others should have never been remade. People like songs that have been covered because they are familiar; it is a tune that they know, lyrics they can recite. The question being is why do artists let other artists remake their work?
There is a chance that the cover version may become more famous that the original. That the cover version was so bad it turns people off from the original song. On the other hand why do artists want to cover another artist’s song? When an artist is doing a cover for a song the freedom is all their’s. They can completely manipulate the original lyrics to change the meaning. The artist has control and the opportunity to let their imagination create a brand new story with a song. Although it may not always be the intentions, when a cover song is made the message of the song is altered to a certain extent.
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The song “If I Were a Boy” was originally done by the R&B/soul artist Beyonce Knowles and wonderfully remade by Urban Country artist Reba McEntire. Once the genre changed from one artist to another the message of the song changed the strength of the woman but despite the difference in genre both artist depict their anger and frustration towards men and how they were hurt by a man. The song “If I were a Boy” was sung by two entirely different women with two different upbringings. Both Beyonce and Reba are well known for their outstanding performances and dramatic vocal cords.
Beyonce has been single for most of her career dating her on again off again, now husband, Jay-Z. Throughout this time she was hurt by relationships and grew to be an independent woman with an outstanding career. Reba was married to Charlie Battles and then later divorced. She is now married Narvel Blackstock to and a mother of four. Although both women are happily married now, they struggled through relationships and both were hurt by men. The lyrics of “If I Were a Boy” are both a deplore for misunderstanding between genders and an allegation of males in a relationship.
The Lyrics create a story of how a man acts How he makes excuses for acting the way he does and how it’s not his fault. Both Beyonce and Reba are singing to young girls, ladies, women who have been hurt. They express in the lyrics that you’re not the only one, we’ve been hurt too. They are singing to women who can relate and have been in pain cause by men. They are singing to prove a point to men. That if they could be a man for just one day that they could do a better job.
Beyonce and Reba aim this song to women who can relate to it, but hope men hear it too and sparingly take the time to listen to the lyrics and reflect on how they treat their woman. The configuration behind Knowles song was the problems and arguments that come out of the dynamics of a rigid relationship. She focuses on the trust and faith women have for men and the disappointment they confide in knowing that men do not do the same for them. She repeats in her lyrics that she could do a better job being a man and loving a women.
She is trying to prove a point that even the smallest things you do for a significant other is important to recognize in a relationship. Knowles song has a repetition of this and how men often hurt women. The message in the R&B/Soul genre is different than in the Urban Country genre of “If I Were a Boy” When Beyonce sings it, she sings it with disgust and with vulnerability to how a man treats her. She has been treated badly and cheated on. Not only is this man hurting her by his actions he makes her question herself and her dignity.
She sings how she is stuck in a relationship because she has lost value in herself and because she loves him. He can do anything he wants because she is scared to lose love, so she will not leave him. “I’d put myself first. And make the rules as i go ‘Cause I know that she’d be faithful waiting for me to come home, to come home. ” This shows Beyonce’s age and how she recently experienced feelings like this and how difficult it is. When Reba sings this song the message is different. She sings it as a grown woman.
Looking back at her own failed relationship, and the mistakes she made and that she is telling a story to younger women not to stay and wait for men who treat you this way. The different genres really show a difference in the women singing them. How the situations are similar but how they handle it are very different. Fortunately, both artists made music videos to the same song. The music videos help us expand on how the genres change the song. Beyonce’s video portrays an emotional black and white short story with word dialogue. The word dialogue adds intimacy and drama into Beyonce’s performance.
Beyonce takes on a rather masculine role in her video as a police officer. In her video she plays the man’s part in a tense relationship. Although she plays a masculine role she is still a woman. She acts in ways that men act in relationships, she inflicts pain on her husband in the video as men do to woman. The Husband in her video portrays a woman’s role in a relationship. He has woman’s characteristics of being thoughtful, caring, and loving. having the man in the video being the one who was hurt and betrayed was how Beyonce tried to prove her point of how men treat women.
Beyonce’s video made the “man” vulnerable and hurt by her actions. At one point in the video the husband has attractive coworkers flirting with him and he rejects their progression, while Beyonce flirts back with her male police partner. In Reba’s music video she acts as no one but herself. The change in genre is apparent in Reba’s video compared to Beyonce’s. Reba wears an elegant green gown that shows her strength and beauty. The focus of Reba’s video remains on her with only a couple of short appearances of a man. Reba is very confident in who she is.
This reflects the change in the message of the song. Reba acts as an adult who is courageous and self assured. She knows the mistakes she has made, she knows that she has been in failed relationships but she has learned. She has moved on and is a better and stronger person because of that reason. Reba is a very independent and strong woman compared to Beyonce’s need and susceptible role. The variety of emotion each women was able to pull off and how different they were considering they were singing the same words really supported the fact that the message changed with the change in genre.
In the last few stanzas of the song Beyonce changes the format of the song from the original “If I were a boy” to “But you’re just a boy. ” This was done to assemble the feelings woman have for men and put them in perspective. Changing the focus on the man instead of Beyonce’s masculine roll solidified the characteristics of that man. Beyonce sings the last part of her song with barely restrained anger and anguish. Reba sings the last part of the song with cold wistfulness as to say “watch out, I’m a new woman. ” The difference in emotion is that Beyonce is scared and unsure of the future while Reba is strong and not afraid.
Although the cover version of “If I Were a Boy” had the same lyrics as the original song the genre did have an affect on the emotion and message of each song. Both Beyonce’s and Reba’s vocal forces added a variety of power to the songs They both did a magnificent job voicing their emotions into a song and making it their own. One version did not take away the excellence of the song and videos of each artist. Both artist’s creative process formed a wonderful song with a powerful and relatable message to all women.