"If I Were A Boy" is the first song from Beyonce's third studio album I Am...Sasha Fierce.

Background Edit

"If I were a boy" is a commentary on the double standards that that often exist between men and women and a story of role reversal. She explores what it would be like if she did all the things he did to her every day.

The woman in the song has been taken for granted but at the same time she doesn’t want to let go and lose everything that she once had. It’s unclear at the end whether she is final about not taking him back or if there is a note of hope that someday he’ll realize what he’s been doing to her and become a better man.

Writing and production Edit

"If I Were a Boy" was written by BC Jean and Toby Gad. It is the opening ballad of the I Am ... disc of the double album I Am... Sasha Fierce. It is the only song on either disc that Beyoncé did not co-write. Most of the lyrics were written by Jean, who was inspired by the break-up of a romantic relationship. One day Jean and Gad visited a pizzeria in Times Square in New York City. Although tempted, Jean refrained from eating pizza because she was dieting. She then thought that if she were a boy, she would have eaten without regret. After reflecting on the idea, she concluded that she would have been a better man than her past lover. Gad captured Jean's ideas on a pocket recorder, and they went to the studio the same day. Once there, she wrote the lyrics and melody in about 15 minutes. She then recorded the song in less than half an hour, with Gad on the guitar.

After completing her version of "If I Were a Boy", Jean presented it to her record company, which rejected the song. Gad and Jean had co-written 12 songs, including "If I Were a Boy", for the singer's debut album. As the deal with Jean's record company fell apart, Gad marketed the songs to established artists. Beyoncé liked "If I Were a Boy" and recorded her own version of it for her album I Am... Sasha Fierce. Gad and Beyoncé produced the track in 2008 at Roc the Mic Studios and Strawberry Productions in New York City and at GAD Studios in Ibiza. Gad did the musical arrangements, assisted in recording the music, and played the instruments alongside his brother Jens Gad and Reggie Syience Perry. Jim Caruana recorded Beyoncé's vocals at Roc the Mic Studios. Mark "Spike" Stent mixed the track with assistance from Matt Green at The Record Plant in Los Angeles. "If I Were a Boy" was placed on the I Am... disc of I Am... Sasha Fierce, as it is a ballad that shows Beyoncé's insecurities about love and the person she is "underneath all the makeup, underneath the lights and underneath all the exciting star drama".

Critical reception Edit

"If I Were a Boy" was widely acclaimed by contemporary music critics, who applauded Beyoncé's vocal performance and called the song her best yet. Billboard magazine's critic Chuck Taylor wrote that "If I Were a Boy" is Beyoncé's "most affecting offering" since "Listen" (2006). He praised her vocals as "breathtaking, exquisitely emotive, mournful, and mature" and added that the song "exudes the fragrance of a Grammy Award". According to Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times, "If I Were a Boy" is Beyoncé's Streisand moment and "a tender, fairly simple ballad that [she] uses to prove she's a great vocal actress". Powers concluded, "This isn't just another breakup song; it's an elegy for female empowerment, Beyoncé's admission that no amount of money, fame or skill can solve the basic inequity between her man's heart and her own." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine wrote that "If I Were a Boy" could become as commercially successful as "Irreplaceable" because of its radio-friendly appeal. James Montgomery of MTV News complimented the "tear-jerking power" of "If I Were a Boy" and noted that it reveals "sides of Beyoncé we never knew existed".

Music Video Edit

The music video for "If I Were a Boy" was directed by Jake Nava and was shot in black-and-white in New York City with the video for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". A Spanish version of the music video, titled "Si Yo Fuera Un Chico", was released with the same concepts as the main one; it was edited from the original with the Spanish version of the song dubbed over it. The music video for "If I Were a Boy" is reflective of the stance as an independent woman that Beyoncé has taken throughout her career.] In an interview with Billboard magazine, Beyoncé revealed that the concept of the video is similar to the American comedy film Freaky Friday (1976); its theme is role reversal. She also said that it would depict things that men commonly do to hurt their partners, like not answering their phones, before adding that the video is about little things that mean a lot in relationships. Beyoncé explained:

Lyrics Edit

[Verse 1]
If I were a boy
Even just for a day
I'd roll outta bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted and go
Drink beer with the guys
And chase after girls
I'd kick it with who I wanted
And I'd never get confronted for it
Cause they'd stick up for me

[Chorus 1]
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I'd be a better man
I'd listen to her
Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted
Cause he's taken you for granted
And everything you had got destroyed

[Verse 2]
If I were a boy
I would turn off my phone
Tell everyone it's broken
So they'd think that I was sleepin' alone
I'd put myself first
And make the rules as I go
Cause I'd know that she'd be faithful
Waitin' for me to come home
To come home

[Chorus 1]
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I’d be a better man
I’d listen to her
Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted (wanted)
Cause he’s taken you for granted (granted)
And everything you had got destroyed

It's a little too late for you to come back
Say it's just a mistake
Think I'd forgive you like that
If you thought I would wait for you
You thought wrong

[Chorus 2]
But you’re just a boy
You don’t understand
Yeah you don’t understand
How it feels to love a girl someday
You'll wish you were a better man
You don’t listen to her
You don’t care how it hurts
Until you lose the one you wanted
Cause you’ve taken her for granted
And everything you have got destroyed
But you’re just a boy...