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.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.