Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on>"/>
Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on the logic that just because a lot of the music on the radio is crap doesn't mean all the music on the radio is crap.
The hit: "Love on Top," Beyoncé (off 4).
Current chart position: Earlier this month, the song debuted at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Beyoncé's second-highest chart debut in her career; just this week it dropped off the chart, but it's still hanging in at #119 on iTunes.
The team: Beyoncé wrote "Love on Top" with Shea Taylor and Terius Nash--who is better known as The-Dream and who has written some of modern R&B's best hits, including Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies." He also had a big hand on 4, co-writing some of the record's strongest tracks--"1+1," "Run the World (Girls)," "Countdown," and the fabulous bonus track "Schoolin' Life." The musical team of Beyoncé and The-Dream works so well--it's one of the most successful in pop music right now.
Breakdown: "Love on Top" is the song that Beyoncé performed at this year's MTV Video Music Awards before announcing her pregnancy; she precluded that performance by saying, "There was a time when music just made you feel so good." "Love on Top" is a throwback to that feel-good type of music--in this case, the light funk of the Jackson 5 or Stevie Wonder. Everything about the song shouts easy, smiling cheer--the snazzy keyboards that introduce the song; the hyper-romance of the lyrics ("Honey honey/I can see the stars all the way from here/Can't you see the glow on the windowpane?/I can feel the sun whenever you're near/Every time you touch me I just melt away"); the bouncing Moog bass; the triumphant horns; the chanty call-and-response sections. Beyoncé's vocals have never sounded better than they do on 4--on this song, you can literally hear the joy in her voice, and the end of this song, when she leaps through an astounding four key changes, conveying all the strength and passion in the world, is the single most incredible vocal trick on the album. "Love on Top" could have been a hit 30 years ago, and it rightfully should be a huge hit today--if Beyoncé shot a video and did all the promo for this song as a single, it could be one the biggest hits of her career. But baby comes first, and we're not going to argue with that.