It’s Beyonce’s World. Stop It, I Want to Get Off.

“You just hate me because you ain’t me.”

Living in a celebrity-obsessed culture means you will be exposed to saturation coverage with around the clock updates of every move our best and brightest stars make and every breath they take.     Whether or not we are interested or care about the celebrity is not the point.   We are supposed to care.   We are supposed to crave fresh results to process, constant communication and breathless bulletins of what our stars are up to.   God isn’t dead.   He just needs a better publicist and a Twitter feed.

Which brings me to my point.   This is Beyonce’s World and could someone slow it down?  I’d like to get off.

I can’t be the only person in North America who is sick and tired of All Things Beyonce.

When I say “I don’t like Beyonce”  I’m not saying I don’t like her music.  She’s a perfectly capable vocalist.   When she doesn’t bleach her hair too blonde, she’s quite attractive.   She’s a reasonably good dancer, she has a rockin’ body, and even though Jay-Z isn’t much to look at, I give her a lot of respect for being married to a Black man.

But can a brother get a break from the Beyonce News Network?   Everything this woman does is not newsworthy.   Yes, I know that’s blasphemy.   Come get some if you don’t like it.

Beyonce and Jay-Z Go to Cuba.  Conservatives Lose Their Minds.    Sun rises the next day.  World keeps turning.

Beyonce releases diss track telling her haters to “Bow Down Bitches.”    You don’t say?

Beyonce sings at Obama’s inauguration and gets busted for lip synching.    Surprised?

Beyonce’s new song for The Great Gatsby is a duet with Andre3000 is an homage to Amy Winehouse.   It kind of sucks, but who cares?   It’s Beyonce!   Are you not entertained?

Beyonce reunites with Destiny’s Child at The Super Bowl and makes Kelly and Michelle sing one of her songs!

Beyonce named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world.   Because she’s a diva.  And that makes her influential.  So there!

Beyonce bans photographers from her tour.   Because they took photographs of her that were unflattering.  We only want flattering photos of Bey out there.

I’m not one of those old men who spending his 50’s dumping on  entertainment that was never designed with me in mind.   Justin Bieber, Scandal,  Lena Dunham,   Nikki Minaj, reality TV,  Mad Men, Game of ThronesLady Gaga and most of the good people who have won a Grammy,  Oscar, Golden Globe or People’s Choice Award for the last decade.   I am blissful in my ignorance of whatever the current hot hip happening thing is feeling pretty content about it, thank you very much.   This is a father who forgives them for their ways are not mine.

There have always been man-made media monsters stomping across the land and filling our empty lives with all the juicy details of theirs, but nothing like Beyonce.    Maybe Madonna at her peak or Lady Gaga when wearing dresses made of meat mattered more than the music she made, but even Madonna backed off as she aged out from Material Girl to Material Mommy.    Lady Gaga certainly seems to have retreated a bit from the glare of the spotlight allowing it to swing back to pitiful train wrecks like Lindsay Lohan and talentless freaks like the entire Kardashian Klown show.

Beyonce has a social conscience.  Beyonce does not seem to carry herself like Diana Ross ghetto royalty.  Beyonce has indisputable talent as a singer and dancer  (the less said about her attempts at acting the better unless you think she her cringe-inducing “performances in Obsessed and Austin Powers in Goldmember were Oscar-worthy).     Beyonce is gorgeous.   

I still don’t need Beyonce all up in my face ALL the time.    Even beauty can be boring as hell.

I think Bey deserves a vacation.  She deserves one.   She’s earned it.   She should take it.   She should take pity on the world and allow it to  focus on acts of terrorism,  wars, economic calamity, natural disasters,  political machinations, and other mundane stuff for a while.   Every fascinating detail of her fabulous life can go unshared and almost no one will care.    Well, except Bossip, Media Take-Out, Perez Hilton and a million other Internet web sites that feed on these tidbits of trivial b.s. like a newborn calf suckling on its mama’s teat, but who gives a crap about them?

Beyonce is the 8th Wonder of the World.    It will do us all good if  she would go away for a week or two or 26 and allow the world to wonder about her.

How do I do it? Lots of talent, make-up and Photoshop.

Sade’s “Ultimate Collection” Isn’t.

"I'm very excited by this album.. Can't you tell?"

Did the world really need a new Sade “best of” album? Possibly, since it has been 17 years since The Best of Sade (Epic,1994), even if there has only been two albums worth of new material since then. But actually it’s Sade who needed to put out this double disc. The timing of The Ultimate Collection is in no small part related to the fact Sade is off on her first world tour in a decade and since Soldier of Love (Epic, 2010) is a year old now she needed to some “new” product to whet the appetite of the fans.

Despite there being twice as many songs on The Ulitmate Collection than the The Best of Sade, there is still some noticeable padding included with three unreleased (and mostly unremarkable) tracks and two remixes, including Sade’s first collaboration with another artist other than her typical bandmates. Unfortunately, she chose the rapper, Jay-Z and the result of this duet that really isn’t a duet at all is a train wreck of two totally incompatible styles colliding headlong (yes, it is THAT bad).

All the expected hits are here (“Smooth Operator,” “Hang On to Your Love,” “Never As Good As the First Time” “No Ordinary Love”) while dropping “Like A Tattoo” and “Please Send Me Someone to Love ” to be replaced with the new additions “Feel No Pain” and “Bullet Proof Soul” from Love Deluxe, five tracks from Lovers Rock and three from Soldier of Love.

The inclusion of five selections from the leaden Lovers Rockis a small mystery, but a bigger one is why three of the album best songs, (“Lovers Rock,” “Somebody Already Broke My Heart,” and “Every Word”) aren’t here while three of the most sparse tracks, (“Flow,” “King of Sorrow” and “The Sweetest Gift”) are.

The three “new” songs are likely leftovers from the Solider of Love and Lovers Rock sessions. It’s hard to tell as the track information doesn’t make it clear. “Still In Love” is a ballad by the late Phil Lynott, the frontman of the rock band Tthin Lizzy. It’s okay, if not particularly dazzling. “Love is Found” has a bit more energy along the lines of “Soldier of Love” though Sade still delivers it with her customary world-weariness, but it’s far superior to “I Would Never Have Guessed,” a trite trifle which should have stayed locked in whatever vault it was left in.

A "duet" nobody asked for and nobody wanted.

WhySade decided her first collaboration with another artist should be Jay-Z is anyone’s guess (was Beyonce busy?) , but it is obvious at no time were they even in the same time zone when he added his pointless contribution to the remix of “The Moon and the Sky.” Sade has never cared before about trends and the “rent-a-rapper” gimmick has become commonplace. If she really wanted to create a buzz for she should have whistled up a true peer like Prince or Maxwell for a guest appearance.

All things considered there’s not much “ultimate” about this collection. There’s no liner notes detailing anything more than musicians, producers and studios, no observations from The Lady herself or even a hired essayists to muse of the larger meaning to Sade’s music. There’s only two photos of Sade in the eight page booklet and none of her bandmates. So much for the “Sade is a band” line The Ultimate Collection could have lived up to title with less skimpy packaging and if it had finally collected one of Sade’s few genuine “jazz” performances, “Killer Blow” from the 1986 film Absolute Beginners.

No such luck. As things stand, a more accurate title would be “The Adequate Collection” because there’s little ultimate about this bare bones piece of product.