Another week, another radiant Beyoncé video, though this time with an oddly discordant poverty-chic tone. After nodding to New Edition with last week's luxuriously basic "Love on Top" clip, and drawing misguided plagiarism accusations for the fantastic "Countdown" a week earlier, this time the pop queen heads to a trailer park for Kanye West co-production "Party," the sixth video selection from this year's 4. Rapper Khia has already reminded us of her existence by accusing Ms. Knowles of ripping off her similar pool-party clip for 2002's still-relevant porn-rap hit "My Neck, My Back (Lick It)," but once again, such claims are overblown.
They're also beside the point. One valid complaint about the video is that it swaps out Andre 3000's sex-talking verse for Jay-Z protege J. Cole's blandly swaggering pop-culture references — but then again, Andre's bars were already the least inspired in his recent amazing run of otherwise pretty unlikely pop guest appearances.
Backed by breezy synths-and-horns R&B reminiscent of the early '90s, "Party" feels like an enjoyably carefree, summer-BBQ take on subject matter that's actually pretty similar to that of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream": a young woman in love, willing to take a relationship "to the next level," as they used to say. Solange Knowles and Kelly Rowland both make appearances at this block party, and Khia can't claim sole influence over the video, because it also features a sunglasses-and-lollipop combo that proves Brooklyn-based Internet lightning rod Lana Del Rey isn't the only pop singer explicitly alluding to Lolita these days.
"Party" isn't Beyoncé's best video recently, but it has a lot of stiff competition. (One more thing: It's still pretty crazy to see a Beyoncé video preceded by a song by U.K. indie dudes Los Campesinos!, even if that song comes in the form of a super lame Budweiser commercial.)
Meanwhile, Beyoncé has also revealed plans for a live DVD that will arrive just in time for holiday shopping. The two-disc set, Beyoncé: Live at Roseland, is due out on November 29 and will feature footage from her four-night stand this summer at New York City's relatively intimate Roseland Ballroom. No track list is available just yet, but you can pre-order it here.