Green Light (Beyoncé song)

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"Green Light"
A brunette woman walks along a path. She wears a leotard compound of a white blouse with long sleeves and black boots. She holds a bicycle with her right hand, and above it, the word "Beyoncé" is written in white, while "Gre", "Enl", and "Ight" are written in green, yellow and red capital letters, respectively.
Single by Beyoncé
from the album B'Day
Released July 30, 2007 (2007-07-30)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2006; Sony Music Studios (New York City, New York)
Genre R&B, funk
Length 3:29
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Beyoncé Knowles, Pharrell Williams, Sean Garrett
Producer(s) The Neptunes, Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Get Me Bodied"
(2007)
"Green Light"
(2007)
"Until the End of Time"
(2007)

"Green Light" is a song recorded by American singer Beyoncé. The song was written by Knowles, Sean Garrett, and Pharrell for Knowles's second solo studio album, B'Day (2006). Produced by The Neptunes, it was released as the fifth UK and seventh overall single on July 30, 2007 through Columbia Records. "Green Light" is an R&B-funk song with lyrics detailing a break-up song in which the female protagonist gives her love interest the permission to move out. The song also finds Knowles using fairly aggressive tone. Written in the key of A minor, "Green Light" samples the "uh-oh-oh-oh-oh" vocals which music critics noted to have a flagrant resemblance to Knowles' own 2003 hit single, "Crazy in Love".

"Green Light" was generally well received by music critics who universally praised the beat, bass, groove, and angry tone used by Knowles in the song. The single performed moderately on charts, peaking at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart and at number 46 in Ireland. The Freemasons remix of the track peaked at number eighteen on the Dutch Top 40 chart. The single's accompanying music video was directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-directed by Knowles. It is inspired by Robert Palmer's 1985 music video "Addicted to Love". Knowles considered the video, which is her second to feature her all-female tour band called the Suga Mama, her toughest shoot. The song was a part of the set list on her world tour The Beyoncé Experience (2007).

Background and release[edit]

After filming Dreamgirls in which Knowles landed a major role, she went on a month-long vacation. On the break she went to the studio to start working on her second solo album, B'Day.[1] She was inspired by her role and she "had so many things bottled up, so many emotions, so many ideas".[1] Knowles contacted American singer-songwriter Sean Garrett, who had worked with her in Destiny's Child and on her 2006 single "Check on It".[2] Together with Pharrell, who had also previously collaborated with Knowles, Garrett was booked to Sony Music Studios in New York City, each had studio to work in.[2] The track was co-produced by Knowles and The Neptunes, along with "Kitty Kat", and was recorded by Jim Caruana and mixed by Jason Goldstein at the same studio.[3]

In June 2006, Knowles invited Tamara Coniff of Billboard magazine to a New York recording studio.[4] There she premiered several songs from the album including "Ring the Alarm" (2006) and "Freakum Dress" (2006), which both were cited as possible second singles, to be released in the United States only.[4] At the same time, she revealed that "Green Light" and "Get Me Bodied" (2007), were planned to be released as the next two international/third US singles from B'Day, following the release of the lead single "Déjà Vu"(2006).[5] However, she ultimately opted for "Ring the Alarm" (2006) as the second single to be released in the United States only while "Irreplaceable" (2006) was officially serviced as the album's second international/third US single.[5] "Green Light" was released later in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2007 as the seventh overall single, following the international release "Beautiful Liar" (2007).[6] Along with the release of the single, a Digital EP featuring remixes from the English production team Freemasons, was made available on July 27, 2007 as an online digital download.[7]

Composition[edit]

A 21-second sample of "Green Light", a song with futuristic funk elements.[8] The song uses repetitive vocal lines, as well as the line, "Give it to mama".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Green Light" is an R&B-funk song performed with "vivace" tempo.[9] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by EMI Music Publishing, the song is written in the key of A minor with a moderate groove of 132 beats per minute.[9] The chord follows the Fm-G♭ key series with an occasional shift to additional B♭m7.[9] Knowles' vocals range from the note of C4 to F5.[9] The song is built on a ripping bassline and features "a more organic" beat.[10] Green Light" features "uh-huh huh huh" vocals and uses brassy stabs which a reviewer from Guardian Unlimited found to be a "direct echo to 'Crazy in Love'."[11] According to The London Paper, the "uh-oh-oh-oh-oh" vocals in "Green Light" is an "imitation of Amerie's performance" in her 2005 single "1 Thing".[12] "Green Light" also displays Latin percussion as well as sampled soul horns,[13] and uses a fairly aggressive tone.[14] Conforming to Jon Pareles of The New York Times, "Green Light" is a break-up song in which the female protagonist gives her love interest the permission to move out. This is shown in the lines of the hook: "Go! Go!"[13] The lyrics are constructed in the traditional verse-chorus form. The song starts with an intro in which Knowles sings, "Give it to mama".[9] Jaime Gill of Yahoo! Music commented that "Green Light" seems to be all "slink and minimalism before a surging come-on of a chorus."[15] It follows the verse-chorus-verse-verse-chorus pattern giving way to the bridge.[9] Knowles repeats the chorus, ending the song.[9]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

"Green Light" received positive reception from critics. Eb Haynes of AllHipHop referred to "Green Light" as a "classic Pharrell-Neptunes groove".[16] Andy Kellman of Allmusic described the track as an "ambitious, fleet-footed number that continually switches tempos and sounds".[17] Spence D. of IGN music stated, "'Green Light' brings things back down to pseudo earthiness; both with the slightly more organic sounding Neptunes beat."[10] He felt that the "rippling bassline sounds really familiar, like it's been used in other Neptunes' produced tracks before"....[10] Jaime Gill of Yahoo! Music said that "Green Light" is "the best thing Pharrell and co have done in a long, long while."[15] Roger Friedman of Fox News Channel considered "Green Light" as his second choice as the song having the greatest potential to become a massive hit after "Irreplaceable" (2006).[18] Thomas Inskeep of Stylus Magazine gave a mixed review for the song commenting that it's one of the "tired random-percussion tracks [...] that goes nowhere."[19]

Chart performance[edit]

With the album version of the song being available digitally as soon as the album was released, "Green Light" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 152 after the video aired in early July 2007,[20] and then rose to number seventy-eight on July 28, 2007.[21] Because of heavy radio airplay of the Freemasons remix, as soon as it was available, the song climbed sixty places from number seventy-seven to number seventeen on August 11, 2007,[22] and then to number twelve,[23] giving Knowles her eleventh top twenty hit in the United Kingdom.[24] "Green Light" became Knowles's highest charting single on downloads alone on the UK Singles Chart without a prominent featured artist. The UK commercial CD single was cancelled at the last minute, which means it did not receive a physical release. This explains why the single failed to reach a higher position.[23] "Green Light" stayed on the chart for nine weeks.[25] In Ireland, the single debuted at number forty-six on August 23, 2007, and dropped off the chart a week later.[26] The Freemasons remix of the track debuted at number thirty on the Dutch Top 40 chart on September 8, 2007.[27] It propelled to number nineteen, and peaked at number eighteen on September 29, 2007.[28] It remained on the chart for six weeks.[29] On the other hand, the album version of "Green Light" peaked at number twenty on the Dutch Mega Single Top 100 on September 22, 2007.[30]

Music video[edit]

Seven women are formed while they hold her hands up. From left to right, the first woman wears a leather jacket and jeans of the same material, and high heel shoes. All the other women, that are similarly dressed, wear short leather suits and heels.
Knowles with her back-up dancers on their toes; she considered the scene her toughest shoot, giving her blistered feet and muscle spasms.

The music video for "Green Light" was directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-directed by Knowles. Filmed in early 2007, it was one of the videos shot in two weeks for the B'Day Anthology Video Album (2007) and was one out of eight previously unseen clips.[31] "Green Light" was the third video shot during the sessions.[32] The clip was inspired mainly by Robert Palmer's 1985 music video "Addicted to Love" with its "stone-faced models pretending to play guitars".[33] "Green Light" was considered by Knowles as a modern version of the video because they used the instruments as props, where she pretended as a rock star.[33]

She also revealed that the scenes reminded her of Vanity 6.[33] A short "Kitty Kat" clip opens the "Green Light" video. Knowles considered "Green Light" the "toughest video" to shoot.[33] Besides from dressing in latex rubber clothing, she and her back-up dancers had to wear ballet-pointe heels.[33] The shoes blistered her feet and gave muscle spasms due to the 18-hour session.[33] Knowles invited her all-female tour band, Suga Mama, to make their second appearance in a video after their debut performance on the music video for "Irreplaceable" (2006).[1][33] The video was posted on the MTV Overdrive on March 28, 2007.[34]

Live performances[edit]

A musical group of women, composed of at least eighteen of them, is performing a song on stage. They play drum kits, keyboards and saxophones, while other females sing and dance.
Beyoncé singing "Green Light", backed with her performing ensemble, during the 2007 The Beyoncé Experience world concert tour.

On September 6, 2006, Knowles promoted the album B'Day with a performance of "Green Light" on Good Morning America.[35] On April 2, 2007 she also appeared on the Today Show, to promote the deluxe edition of B'Day, which was released the following day.[36] Knowles sang the Spanglish version of "Irreplaceable" and "Green Light".[36] The song was included as a part of her set list on The Beyoncé Experience.[37][38] On August 5, 2007, Knowles performed the song at the Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, wearing a sparkly silver dress with a long train.[14][39] For the performance, Knowles also brought out her squad of six female dancers.[39] According to Shaheem Reid of MTV News, all the women moved with the precision "of a Navy Seal strike force", slaying the crowd with their synchronized dances.[39] Jon Pareles of The New York Times praised the performance, stating: "Beyoncé needs no distractions from her singing, which can be airy or brassy, tearful or vicious, rapid-fire with staccato syllables or sustained in curlicued melismas. But she was in constant motion, strutting in costumes [...]".[14] According to Tonya Turner of The Courier-Mail, the performance of "Green Light", "moved fans to screams of endearment."[40] In Los Angeles, Knowles gave a full-length performance of the song, dressed in a sparkly silver dress with a long train. It was executed with several female backup dancers, and live instrumentation.[41] "Green Light" was included as on her live album The Beyoncé Experience Live (2007).[42][43]

Track listings and formats[edit]

  • Digital download[44]
  1. "Green Light" – 3:29
  2. "Green Light" (Freemasons Remix) – 3:19
  • UK Freemasons Digital EP[7]
  1. "Green Light" (Freemasons Remix) – 3:19
  2. "Beautiful Liar" (Freemasons Club Remix) (featuring Shakira) – 7:31
  3. "Déjà Vu" (Freemasons Radio Mix) (featuring Jay-Z) – 3:15
  4. "Ring the Alarm" (Freemasons Club Mix Radio Edit) – 3:26

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are taken from B'Day's liner notes.[3]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Reid, Shaheem. "Be All You Can, B.". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Conniff, Tamara (June 16, 2006). "Beyoncé Builds Buzz For 'B-Day'". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b B'Day (Deluxe Edition) (CD liner). Beyoncé Knowles. Columbia Records. 2007. p. 1. 
  4. ^ a b Tamara Coniff (June 19, 2006). "Beyonce's little secret". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. p. 69. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Concepcion, Mariel (August 16, 2006). "Beyoncé Rings The Alarm on Vibe.com". Vibe (InterMedia Partners). Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Green Light the next single". Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK). July 27, 2007. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "iTunes Store - Beyoncé - Green Light - Freemasons EP". iTunes Store. (United Kingdom) Apple Inc. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ Mumbi Moody, Nekesa (December 10, 2009). "Amy, Beyonce, Kanye, made decade's best albums". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. p. 2. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Green Light - Sheet Music (Digital Download)". Musicnotes.com. EMI Music Publishing. 
  10. ^ a b c D., Spence (September 5, 2006). "Beyonce – B'Day - Music Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ Robinson, Peter (September 17, 2006). "Beyoncé, B'Day". Guardian Unlimited. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ Mackenzie, Malcolm (July 30, 2007). "Interview: Amerie". The London Paper. NI Free Newspapers Ltd. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (September 4, 2006). "All That Success Is Hard on a Girl (or Sounds That Way)". The New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (August 6, 2007). "Romance as a Struggle That She Will Win". The New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Gill, Jaime (September 7, 2006). "Yahoo! Music Album Review: Beyonce – B'day". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  16. ^ Haynes, Eb (September 20, 2006). "B'Day". AllHipHop. AHH Holdings LLC. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  17. ^ Kellman, Andy. "B'Day - Beyoncé". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  18. ^ Friedman, Roger (August 17, 2006). "First Look: Beyonce's New Album 'B'Day'". Fox News Channel. Fox Entertainment Group. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  19. ^ Inskeep, Thomas (September 14, 2006). "Beyoncé - B’Day - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  20. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: Alex K – Kyuss". Zobbel Archive (UK). Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "UK Top 100 Singles Chart (July 28, 2007)". ChartsPlus. The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ "UK Top 100 Singles Chart (August 11, 2007)". ChartsPlus. The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "UK Top 100 Singles Chart (August 18, 2007)". ChartsPlus. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Beyoncé Knowles Singles Peak Positions". ChartsPlus. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Chart Stats – Beyoncé – Green Light". ChartsPlus. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Discography Beyoncé". Irish Singles Chart. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – September 8, 2007 Week 36" (in Dutch). Top 40 Netherlands. September 8, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  28. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – September 29, 2007 Week 39" (in Dutch). Top 40 Netherlands. September 29, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – October 13, 2007 Week 41" (in Dutch). Top 40 Netherlands. October 13, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  30. ^ a b c "Green Light". MegaCharts. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Beyonce releases 'B'Day' video album". USA Today. Gannett Company. April 25, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  32. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer. "Beyoncé: Behind The B’Day Videos - Part 3". MTV News. MTV Networks. p. 3. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g Vineyard, Jennifer. "Beyoncé: Behind The B’Day Videos - Part 3". MTV News. MTV Networks. p. 1. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Green Light – Beyoncé". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Beyonce Knowles Performs On ‘GMA’". Rnb Dirt. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  36. ^ a b "Beyonce Live On Today Show". That Grape Juice. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Beyoncé - Green Light". Nuts. IPC Media. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  38. ^ Moorhouse, Donnie (August 4, 2007). "Fans 'experience' Beyonce spectacle". The Republican. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  39. ^ a b c Shaheem Reid (August 7, 2007). "Beyonce Puts On Flawless — And Fall-Less — NYC Show With Robin Thicke". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  40. ^ Turner, Tonya (April 23, 2007). "Beyonce heats it up". The Courier-Mail. News Limited. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  41. ^ Beyoncé Knowles (2007). The Beyoncé Experience Live. Columbia Records. 
  42. ^ "The Beyoncé Experience (Live) [Audio Version]" (in Dutch). iTunes Store. (Belgium) Apple Inc. November 19, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  43. ^ Deming, Mark. "The Beyoncé Experience: Live - Beyoncé". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Beyoncé - Green Light MP3 downloads". 7digital. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Beyonce Album & Song Chart History" European Hot 100 for Beyonce. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
  46. ^ "Chart Track: Week 34, 2007". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
  47. ^ "Beoyncé" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved December 9, 2011.

External links[edit]