Reba McEntire is one of those entertainers who has solidified her place in country music so firmly that she's able to fool around confidently with other genres, as she's proved with her latest single--a cover of Beyoncé Knowles's "If I Were A Boy."
"To be doing different things now, than I did even five years ago--it's fun," she noted in November, upon the release of the album which housed the cover. And, it's been successful as well, as are most of McEntire's career calculations.
McEntire's version of the thoughtful pop tune--which takes a look at the differences between genders--has already been a hit at country radio; the brand-new video which debuted this week is a subdued study which takes a totally different approach than the original narrative clip.
In Knowles's video, an emotional black-and-white mini-movie is played out, with spoken-word dialogue and Knowles taking on the traditionally masculine role of a cop in uniform before switching back into feminine mode of dress and heels.
In McEntire's version, she plays nobody but herself. Her "uniform" is an uber-feminine flowing green gown, the camera remains on her for the most part, and the male actor in the video makes only a couple very short appearances (and is quite one-dimensional compared to the "boy" in Bey's version).
Both divas put all their respective vocal forces into the ballad, and bring an additional layer of emotion with their videos as well. Overall, McEntire's austere take comes off as gently wistful, whereas Knowles's dramatic play--like much of her other work--seethes with barely restrained anger and sadness.
Oddly enough, if I were a boy, it would be McEntire I'd be more afraid of. Although Knowles always comes across as strong, she also always has that little bit of vulnerability showing through. McEntire--well, if anything, this particular video shows her steely core off to perfection. She's never gonna let anyone knock her down. Whether she is a boy or a girl, her video proves that it's going to be done her way.
She may play wistful, she may act sad, and she's certainly sang her share of emotive country ballads. But I for one will never believe any "boy" could have the upper hand on her.
In an odd way, these two very different videos actually highlight the theme of the song quite vividly and take it one step further--expressing the differences in mindsets between individuals (not simply just boy vs. girl).
Which version of "If I Were A Boy" do you like better? Here are both for you to compare. Be sure to let me know your opinion!
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