On Friday, December 13 at midnight Mrs Carter-Knowles, better known to the world as Beyonce dropped her 5th studio eponymous titled album – Beyoncé without a single, promotion and not one iota of a hint that it was coming. I for one was shocked and confused and thought it was some kind of internet hoax. Even after I was on itunes and saw the album, I didn’t believe it. I am not a stan but I have to say, that was a pretty big and ballsy move and my mind was blown. I also learned what a visual album was. An album that comes with music videos – or a short film – for each song. Not a lot of people can get away with what she did but Beyoncé is her own brand of star and has reached a point in her career where she can do what she wants. After all the fanfare, excitement and the passing out and resurrection of stans, how was the album?
I am not going to lie, at first listen I thought the album was just okay. Nothing spectacular and nothing groundbreaking. I still feel that way but at the same time I won’t say the album was just okay. If nothing else, it’s an enjoyable album with lots of varied sounds. Evidence of the variation can be heard just by listening from Track 1 to Track 4. Every song has its own unique sound and not trying to be an imitation. It’s like every producer on a track decided to bring out their very best for Ms Bey.
The one word I have always used to describe Beyoncé is savvy (only because cunning is to strong a word lol). Beyoncé is very aware of what is going on in her industry and is always one step ahead. She also knows the right things to say and the right times to say, which some have complained makes her seem so rehearsed and inauthentic. I think she is trying to rectify this issue starting with the documentary she had on HBO earlier in the year. She also decided to shed the good girl image she had been holding on to since her Destiny’s Child days and on this album went balls to the wall with her sexuality and held nothing back. “Partition” is the sexiest song on the album that shows this new no holds barred Beyonce. The album has a strong sexuality theme but it is handled in a mature way as a woman who enjoys having sex with her husband. (Although I think her being married makes it easier for the public to embrace. I do wonder how different it would have been if she wasn’t married. I won’t touch much on the videos but I have to say she brought the VISUAL in Visual album. Every video is stunning. Mostly because Beyonce looks stunning (and without bottoms) in almost all the videos and regardless of if they were simple or packed, they were all fun to watch (My favorite was “Haunted”)
Overall, I do recommend the album. I like the fact that I can’t pigeon hole it to a particular genre. When I listened, I couldn’t say “oh this is an R&B song” or “oh this is a pop song”. I was able to listen to them as just songs. You can hear (and see) a different kind of confidence in her that, even if it is rehearsed, isn’t as obvious as it was in past years. You still are able to hear the core of Beyoncé that she has had in her solo albums, the one with the message of being in love and being a strong, independent woman don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. Queen B put work into this album and you can tell. Good thing because it would have sucked to have all that secret album dropping fanfare and have a sucky album. Her hardwork is our gain.
My faves: Pretty Hurts, Drunk In Love, Flawless, Mine, Jealous, Partition. What are your faves?