Music Video Review: “Best Thing I Never Had”


I am not above admitting that the first time I heard Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had,” I cranked it, sang into my hairbrush microphone, and felt a diva-licious catharsis of those lingering traces of resentment over the boy drama from my pre-Collin life. Nathan Rabin says that Beyoncé’s music has the recurring theme of “I’m awesome. Fuck you.”    Listening to Beyoncé holler “thank God I dodged a bullet” I felt a powerful rush of “I’m awesome, I’m getting MARRIED, fuck you.”

But now I feel really lame about that.  Because when I heard on the radio that the video for the track has Beyoncé in a wedding dress, I was all, “so I’m really an easy mark for Beyoncé, I guess.”

And then I watched the video, and two things struck me:

1. The idea of thinking about whatever douche danced with another chick at your high school prom or insert-your-own-boy-issues-here on your wedding day bothers me.  If he really never had you, shouldn’t you have more important things on your mind at that moment?

2. Why does getting married have to be portrayed as the ultimate victory for a woman scorned?  Couldn’t Beyoncé have dodged a bullet just because now she has more time for her career and her friends and a lover who won’t blow her cover?  As an unemployed, about-to-be-married person, I still strongly object to this notion that the best way for a woman to win at life is to get married.

This rage generally receded when the wedding footage started to roll, because it does as good as job as the best wedding movies of depicting the love and togetherness and joy of a good wedding. I was a sucker for that stuff from the beginning, and with a week and a day to go before my own wedding, I am completely powerless against it. I mean, the groom trying to keep her veil from blowing in his face as they leave the ceremony? Beyoncé feigning embarrassment as the groom removes her garter? Beyoncé doing the cabbage patch with a little kid? A.DOOR.BELL.


  1. Oh didn’t you know – all women should aspire to getting married. It is our zenith.

    It’s all we have.

  2. Agree that thinking about some jerky bf from high school on your wedding day is weird… (for some reason, reminds me of Gwen Stefani’s song “Cool”–although the tone isn’t the same–but she’s clearly married to another person, singing about a former flame… and I always felt like there was a big dose of wistfulness in the music and the video, e.g. “we’re cool… right??”).

    What struck me was how demure she looked/acted in the music video, which apparently = bride?! Also, yeah, getting married isn’t the healthiest way to say “fuck you, I’ve moved on.” ;P

    That said, there was something sweet about the wedding montage… happy family-and-friends shots always get to me, even if they’re fake.

    • So, “Cool” is entirely outside my life experience, but nevertheless it always rang true with me. Remembering the past fondly without wanting it back right now is something I can relate to, so I can imagine that happening with relationships. Plus I love how the video shows Gwen and the New Girl being genuinely friendly with each other.

      • Funny – “Cool” doesn’t mean much to me boy-wise, either (no real exes to speak of, just crushes), but I’ve always really liked the song/video. It’s one I play over and over again… I think it’s that sense of nostalgia, of being pretty happy with where you are, but also acknowledging that things are very different now, and that’s always a bit weird to think about… okay, I’m rambling. ;) And I love the outfits and scenery.

  3. Btw – although I guess I can see how “wedding = zenith for woman” could be read from the video, I saw it more as hauling out the old “wedding = pinnacle of love life” trope, regardless of gender. Which is also a flawed notion….

  4. Hmm. First two things I noticed were: 1. Her underwear didn’t match her dress and 2. Her hairstyle changed from getting ready to walking down the aisle.

    Clearly I need a break from my day job.

    But I still love her.

    • Bwah! The underwear thing bugged me too, because NO ONE WEARS THAT SHIT under anything. We always must change into it, and then have it removed almost immediately. Which honestly, I’m fine with. But I don’t like hollywood trickery suggesting lingerie is UNDERWEAR.

      • Haha yeah… the girls at the bridal salon stupidly convinced me to get a corset for under the dress (they said for posture and to make my waist smaller, whatever) . I kind of wanted one but anyway. Turned out my dress was so thin, even if it was 3 layers, that you could see the boning or whatever the name is, under it and there I was running around 1 day before the wedding looking for a bra that would fit cause I did not have a good one in the right color (nude) or else you would see it. During the trial they always said that the boning would not show, even if as I was asking, I was looking at it….

  5. Your post reminded me of a friend I had in high school who, whenever one of us would get stressed out about tests, college apps, bad relationships, etc., would say, “You won’t remember this on your wedding day!” True that.

    • Ha! But will you remember it for the rest of your life AFTER your wedding day? Because we do not actually have the credits roll after we kiss our groom.

  6. As always, you hit it spot on with your review. On my wedding day, you can bet your ass I wasn’t thinking of the countless men who didn’t want me or treated me less than awesome. I was thinking about how romantic and intimate it was… how I couldn’t stop smiling and neither could he… and OMG HOW WILL I LOOK IN THE PHOTOS? (Which is also a feminism fail, btw.)

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