Song of the Day #5,183: ‘If I Were a Boy’ – BC Jean

My daughters and I recently watched a YouTube video listing “songs you didn’t know are covers.” I immediately thought that would make a great theme for the blog.

While the video included some songs that everybody knows are covers (Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and Nirvana’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World,’ for example), I did find myself quite surprised by much of the list.

I’ll share a selection of those over the next few weeks.

I’ve long been a fan of today’s SOTD in its more popular form, as a single from Beyoncé’s 2008 album I Am… Sasha Fierce. The track features one of Beyoncé’s best vocal performances, and looked ahead to some of the provocative work she’s do in the 2010s.

I also assumed it was an original, if not co-written by Beyoncé than at least written for her.

But no, this track was written and initially recorded by BC Jean, an American singer-songwriter. The song was turned down by her record label when compiling her debut album and ended up in Beyoncé’s hands later the same year. Jean didn’t even know Beyoncé was interested in the song until the superstar had recorded it.

Jean, who aspired to be a recording artist and not a writer of songs for other people, at first resented that ‘If I Were a Boy’ was released as a single by one of the world’s most famous performers. She vented on MySpace and invited listeners to hear her version there.

She eventually came around, enjoying the financial success and increased recognition the song earned her.

[Verse 1]
If I were a boy
Even just for a day
I’d roll out of bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted then go
I’d drink beer with the guys
And chase after girls
I’d make out with who I wanted
And never get busted for it
‘Cause they’d stick up for me

[Chorus]
If I were a boy
I think that I’d 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 destroyеd

[Verse 2]
If I were a boy
I could just turn off my phone
And tеll her that it’s broken
So she thinks 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
Just waitin’ for me to come home
I’m not waiting no more

[Chorus]
If I were a boy
I think that I’d 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

[Bridge]
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

[Outro]
But you’re just a boy
You don’t understand
How it feels to love a girl
Someday, you’ll wish you were a better man, woah
You don’t listen to her
You don’t care how it hurts
Until you lose the one you wanted
‘Cause she’s taken you for granted
And everything you had is destroyed
But you’re just a boy, mmm

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,183: ‘If I Were a Boy’ – BC Jean

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Another cool theme week!

    Next up should be one-hit-wonder songwriters.🤪

  2. Amy says:

    It’s interesting that I don’t think of a song written by another writer to be a cover. Doesn’t the song need to have first been recorded (and heard somewhere other than My Space) to be considered a cover when it is performed by another? Regardless, I like both versions of today’s SOTD, and as you might recall from my long ago turn as a guest blogger, I’m a fan of covers all around, so looking forward to this theme week.

    • Clay says:

      A cover definitely has to have been recorded by another artist to count as a cover. Existing only on MySpace might be stretching the definition a bit, but I’m allowing it in this case.

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