The Bottom Line
Beyonce rolls out another adventurous song from the Sasha Fierce half of her latest album. "Sweet Dreams" heads heavily into synthesized electronic pop territory. The haunting lyric and Beyonces' self-assured vocals make this track another solid success.
- Beyonce's gliding vocals that ratchet up the tension at exactly the right moment
- Haunting lyrics
- Aggressive and exciting electronic pop arrangement
- Misses that intangible element of pure magic
- Written by Beyoncé Knowles, James Scheffer, Wayne Wilkins, and Rico Love
- Produced by Jim Jonsin, Wayne Wilkins, Rico Love, and Beyoncé Knowles
- Released June 2009 by Columbia Records
Guide Review - Beyonce - "Sweet Dreams"
"Sweet Dreams" kicks off with a bassline that would have been comfortable behind classic 80's funk, but as Beyonce's voice kicks in and meets the chorus the first time, we hear something closer to classic electronic pop. Arrangements are primarily courtesy of Beyonce's collaborators here, members of the songwriting and production team known as the Runaways as well as producer Jim Jonsin. Then we think about that line, "You could be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare," and it all sounds slightly creepy in a good way. This is Beyonce heading in a different direction, but it is immediately identifiable as her and only her. It would be very easy for a star of Beyonce's calibre to take significantly fewer risks musically. Instead, she is recording music that stretches her sound in new directions. She's not always successful, but more often than not the result is...in a word, fierce.
The vocal performance here possesses an elegantly gliding tone that perfectly maintains the tension in the lyric and arrangement. Beyonce has kept the ability to ratchet up the excitement level of a song by rising into her upper range from the time of her first megahit "Crazy In Love." However, she tempers it with a stunning sense of control. Each time she climbs into agitation here it is almost as if she takes a quick breath then settles herself back to a slightly less tense state. The expertise in the sound is breathtaking.
Watching the accompanying video is necessary for the full impact of "Sweet Dreams." By three minutes into the clip when she appears in a gold metallic outfit, it's clear we are watching another Beyonce classic. She is at the top of her form as an artist and taking chances that often only the hungriest of artists take.