“Love on Top,” and Other Contemporary Classics (Yes. I just called “Love on Top” a classic. Deal with it.)
Along with coming up with reasons — any reason — to stay in the house (ie: “I’m good with the club tonight, man. Need to watch The “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” marathon later on“), and going to hoop and spending more time warming up and stretching than you actually do playing, one of the strangest parts of getting old(er) is the mind-blowing experience of remembering something like it just happened yesterday, checking to see when it really did happen, and learning that it actually happened like 2000 yesterdays ago.
For instance, do you realize that Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” was released 13 years ago? And, “No, No, No” was released 14 years ago?Â I mean, I remember those videos and listening to those songs on the radio. I remember the debates we’d have in the cafeteria about whether Destiny’s Child was the first girl group where each member was a dime (The verdict? No. That title belongs to En Vogue) and if it was even cool to argue about stuff like that because we didn’t know if each member was technically legal yet. (Remember, this occurred before Huny invented the internet. Couldn’t exactly go to Wiki and read a lie about Beyonce’s exact age). I even remember how both of the women I was seeing at the time would listen to “Say My Name” whenever they took showers. (Apparently, even a college-aged Champ was already into emo Black girls)
Anyway, I’m bringing this all up because the fact that “Say My Name” was released 13 years old kind of puts a hole in the “Beyonce’s music aint going to be relevant 20 years from now” argument. It’s still a song people know and (occasionally) listen to, and it’s not too far-fetched to think that they still will seven years from now. And, while most (myself included) don’t necessarily think of the Thundergoat as being an artist who has produced “classic” material, her prolificness and the fact that she’s headed towards a two decades-long reign at the top of the charts ensures that she definitely has. 30 years from now, people still will be listening to Beyonce’s music at birthday parties, baby showers, and cabarets. Deal with it.
And, while we’re here, you know what else we have to come to terms with? The fact — not opinion. fact — that “Love on Top” may have the most staying power of any R&B song released in the last 10 years.
Seriously, I’ve been going out to clubs, parties, and bars now for 15 years. In that time, I have never seen a contemporary song make every woman in the club react the way they do when “Love on Top” comes on. Aside from a leaked nude pic of Idris Elba, there is no other object that can make Black women more collectively f*cking happy.
It’s not just the women either. Usually, when a popular R&B track from a female artist plays in the club, the guys either head to the bar or try to play it cool even though they know they’d bob their heads and mouth the words if they were listening to it in the car. “Love on Top” inspires no such pretense. I’ve seen it make guys — guys so thug they’d make Beanie Sigel look like Miguel — bounce in their seats while shamelessly attempting to hit each one of Beyonce’s keys. Everyone responds to this shit. Everyone. And, the song’s relentlessly infectious happiness — it practically shanks you in the gut with its “You will f*cking smile while listening to this song” sentiment — makes almost certain this will be a song we’re still listening to when we finally put a Chick-fil-A on Mars.
Now, as you may have realized, I’m definitely not one of those people who steadfastly believes that the current era has produced absolutely nothing that will stand the test of time. I think there have been numerous recent movies, songs, albums, TV shows, and even individual sports seasons that could and should be deemed “classics.”
You already know that I believe “Love on Top” will reach this status. I’m curious, though. People of VSB.com, can you think of anything else created in the 21st century that you feel should be deemed a classic? Any current songs that you’ll be listening to at your retirement party? Any shows that will be talked about for decades the way “All in The Family” has been? Any contemporary movies that’ll make Roger Ebert’s “Best Ever” list in 30 years? Any current sports stars that will definitely be remembered as an all-time great?
The floor is yours.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)