By 3am (three hours after its unexpected release), Beyonce’s self-titled fifth album had sold 80,000 copies. The Announcement, made via her Instagram page with 8 million followers, began a frenzy appropriate for a king and just in case you mistook her for “his little wife,” Bey has come to reclaim her throne. “Beyonce” is trending towards number one on the Billboard 200 charts and projected to snag the top spot over R. Kelly’s “Black Panties” and “Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades Of Influences” by Garth Brooks.
Earlier this year, if you remember, producer The Dream dropped an album that was a progressive mixture of auto tune, sex and H-Town’s chopped & screwed sound. It was also during his press run to promote said project that he revealed secret ties to Beyonce. She appeared on his song “Turnt Up” and alongside Jay Z at The Grammys. Little did we know, though we reveled in their collaboration on “IV” that they were cooking up another dose of genius on Beyonce’s self-titled fifth album. Super producer Pharrell, who too had a hand in production on “Beyonce,” raved about Bey’s then forthcoming project, saying: “B’s album is crazy.” Yes Pharrell, we agree.
The 30-track collection, half new singles and half visuals features appearances by Drake, Jay and Blue Ivy. (Bey’s starting lineup puts the Miami Heat to shame). The “Beyonce” experience begins with “Pretty Hurts.” “Are you happy with yourself?” she sings and we can’t help but to think it’s the ink dripping on the track from the inner pages of her diary. Bey’s struggle with revealing her true self fuels the passion behind the soulful rifts that decorate the heartfelt song. “Pretty Hurts” also features a video that portrays Beyonce as a beauty queen, whose one wish is to be happy, because despite popular belief, being pretty isn’t as cracked up as it appears to be (says no one ever).
She continues to vent on “Haunted,” another vulnerable song that reassured our beliefs that the Queen is clawing at her insides begging to be free–which she comes closer to accomplishing with this cohesive album. The accompanying visuals to the next song “Ghost” are just as emo. Beyonce appears in a black gown that violently flies in the wind, covering her bare face at times. “Song not for sale,” she declares proving that she has become bored with appealing to mainstream ears.
Unlike her previous release “4,” this project is dark, overtly sexual and more confident than we’ve ever seen Bey. She’s embraced a new level of feminine prowess and it could all possibly be attributed to the fact that she’s a mother and fully understanding of the power of her curvaceous body. Her love for Jay Z also fuels the passion in potential singles like: “Drunk In Love”. “We woke up in the kitchen saying how the hell did this shit happen? Oh baby,” she belts over the mid-tempo track. Jay makes an appearance in the “Drunk In Love” video that is set on a private beach while Beyonce seductively twerks in the sand. “Beat the box up like Mike,” Jay raps cradling a wine glass while Bey eats it up. A stand-out track among the 14-track roster, that can easily be her next single.
“Blow” maintains the albums’ mellow vibe as Bey cruises through the video on roller skates. A feel good tune, “Blow” is a fun time from the 70s inspired neon visuals down to the sexual innuendos like “turn that cherry out” and “keep me humming, keep me moaning.”
It’s a smooth transition into “No Angel,” a personal favorite on the album. The climactic beat, combined with Bey’s soft and flowing sensual vocals creates a tantalizing experience from beginning to end.
“He Monica Lewinskied all on my gown,” a risqué Bey explains on “Partition.” Allow us to go ahead and dubb it the next female anthem. And the video will having you screaming “YASSSSSSS.” “Beyonce” is her raunchiest project to date. She’s evolved into a more confident woman, openly expressing her sexuality in an era of roaring feminists who may think otherwise. “Partition” is must-see video that shames Ciara’s “Body Party” routine and Rihanna’s pole dancing on “Pour It Up.”
“Jealous” marks the midway point of “Beyonce” and reestablishes the seriousiousness of “Ghost.” “Rocket” soothens the momentum bring Bey back to her Dangerously In Love” demeanor. It is an unabashed track about Jay’s power to make her feel satisfied. She appears naked in the “Rockets” video, her mountains very tastefully exposed.
Drake and Beyonce collaborate on “Mine,” produced by 40 Shebib, the mastermind behind Drizzy’s ubiquitous hits. Drake’s voice adds the perfect amount of flare to “Mine” making it another potential single. The catchy hook, “Know you wanna roll with a good girl,” is infectious and a testament to Drake’s Midas touch.
The worldly sound of “XO” makes it a potential crossover single that can become the next great pop anthem. The video, set in Coney Island depicts Beyonce as a care free gal who enjoys spending her time dancing in the streets and the song will make you want to follow in her fancy footsteps.
“Flawless” also known as “Grown Woman,” brings the album full circle. After establishing her healthy dose of confidence on “Partition” and proclaiming her adulation for Jay on “Drunk In Love,” “Grown Woman” solidifies her position in the game as the head b*tch in charge. Joined by newcomer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, “Flawless” is easily one of best songs on the album. Houston stand up.
In case you’ve been wondering where Frank Ocean has been, he’s been working on “Superpower,” the most inspirational track on “Beyonce” with equally as inspiring visuals (Beyonce loves a good war scene). Pretty Snoozy, but hey…it’s Frank Ocean.
Things take a drastic and dramatic turn on “Heaven,” as Beyonce reminisces over a lost one where she sheds believable tears in the clip. Her somberness can be felt through the touching lyrics.
Blue Ivy makes her second musical appearance (the first on her dad’s song “Glory”) on “Blue.” Surprisingly, it isn’t as corny as we thought it would be.
“Beyonce” follows a blueprint created by hubby Jay–release the album on iTunes before hard copy therefore preventing leaks but this time around, the royals didn’t give us a head up which all adds to the luster of the album.
Bey breathed new life into the music game, adding a flare to the end of the year, when most people are planning their Christmas vacation and not paying attention to anything iTunes has to offer. Furthermore, “Beyonce” is a display of the power of creativity and we adore her for changing the game after her hubby changed it once before! Somehow Beyoncé is likable again, to people who thought of her as plastic. We’re smiling like a proud mom, go ‘head Bey, you’ve turned into one hell of a woman!
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