In the vast catalogue of inspirational Beyoncé songs, “Runnin’ (Lose It All)” is the track most suited for an Olympic bid, or at least the third stage on a FIFA blow-out (IRL or XBOX). A track by British producer Naughty Boy, it features Bey and man-singer Arrow Benjamin oozing a state of uplifting self-acceptance over a proscenium of Aritizia-ready drum-n-bass. Its message of triumph through love is the kind that can penetrate through your most cynical membrane, whether you like it or not; positivity at its most infectious and, some might say, deadly.
I do not really go in for most Beyoncé ballads; the voice is gorgeous but the disposition often too sticky-sweet for me, the intent often too reductive and even manipulative. Slap on anything alluding to jungle or dnb, though, and it hardens it up a bit, balances it (save for the a cappella in the intro, which is marred by a distracting overwrought clipped echo effect). “Runnin’” is somewhere in the middle there, over the top but saved by the fact that much of it’s in Bey’s mid-range, husky and measured enough to match Benjamin’s response-melody which may be better suited to the song than Bey’s with its raspy tenor. What’s most interesting about this song is how it relegates her to a hired gun on a dance track, something de rigueur in this post-EDM world but unexpected in a post-Beyoncé one.
And yet: “If I lose myself, I lose it all,” sings Bey, just before hitting the Olympic shot-put and sweeping the gold. You WILL succeed at something with this song, whether at your high school track meet or finding the right skirt for the work dinner or making it to the G train right as it pulls into the station. Its gestures to triumph propel you into it, hands akimbo for the joy of it.
Or, as in the video, do a deep-sea marathon towards your long-lost lover that ends up with you walking on water. Whatever works.
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