The Straightforward Sensuality of Beyonce's New '1+1' Video

If you think Beyonce Knowles is a bombshell, and you probably do, then, well, this is nuclear:



What's interesting is that as Beyonce settles into the phase of her career where she's making albums like 4—a pretty straight-forward collection of songs about what it's like to be in a committed, loving relationship—she's releasing videos that rely on the "Beyonce=hot" equation more than ever. In "1+1," above, she glistens and caresses herself as she stares directly into the camera's eye and sells the song's key line: "Make love to me."

Before this latest clip—which was released tonight—came the "Best Thing I Never Had" video. It depicts a wedding. But first, it depicts Beyonce lounging in lingerie for a minute and a half.



It's obviously not new for divas to use their own sex appeal to sell music and messages. But compared to her present-day pop rivals, Beyonce's game is unique in its reliance on pure visual magnetism. She's not suggestively licking ice-cream cones and staging teenage underwear parties, a la Katy Perry. Nor is she diving into the ways that sexiness can be manufactured, enhanced, and toyed with, like Lady Gaga. Even while inhabiting apocalyptic warzones or Mad Men-era domestic scenes, Beyonce's always been about the classical approach: catchy song, fun dance, pretty face, pretty body. No reason for that to change now that she's no single lady.

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Spencer Kornhaber is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers pop culture and music. He was previously an editor at Patch.com and a staff writer at OC Weekly. He has written for Spin, The AV Club, and RollingStone.com.

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