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Track Review

Through the years, girl power has been a recurring element in Beyoncé Knowles' music—from Destiny's Child's " Independent Women" to her Sasha Fierce alter ego renditions of " If I Were a Boy" and " Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." But with her rat-tat-tat-tat drumbeat-driven single "Run the World (Girls)," the 29-year-old R&B diva stretches that theme to nothing short of a new world order.

Beyoncé repeatedly asks, "Who run the world?" and "Who run this mother?" (which is emphasized in a way that implies but never delivers the f-word suffix). Then she declares that she's "repping for the girls that's taking over the world." And she makes it perfectly clear that she and her female compatriots can not only "make these millions" and "bear the children," but persuade men to simply do "anything" they ask.

Why will they do anything she asks? Well, probably because of her super-sexy costumes and dance moves. The song's choreography-heavy dance video features fist-in-the-air fervor but celebrates flesh-revealing outfits paired with hip-gyrating sensuality. Set in a burned-out, Mad Maxian post-apocalyptic landscape, Beyoncé plays the role of a warrior temptress in revolt. Leading her growing army of garter belt- and stocking-clad beauties, she spits out her point (in heavily synthesized fits and spurts) to a group of gape-mouthed male adversaries clad in riot gear. A shot of her raising a (pixelated) middle finger puts a profane punctuation on the proceedings.

So. Snarling aggression meets smoldering come-hither seduction. The women who really are running the world (by way of big corporations or government positions) would surely get a good chuckle out of that—the exact opposite of what helped lift them to the levels of power they've so well mastered.

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Peaked at No. 29 on Billboard's Hot 100. The video has been played on YouTube more than 37 million times.

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April 21, 2011

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Bob Hoose