Beyoncé - Beyoncé

2014-01-07 12:24
Beyoncé is a beast.

Her fifth self-titled album, released in surprise form on 13 December, is a collection of songs that highlight Beyoncé's evolution as a woman and artist. It's her strongest and most cohesive album to date.

What's most appealing about Beyoncé is that it shows — in the sound and method of release — how she isn't conforming to mainstream and commercial standards: The songs, while some will find success as singles, play like a unified assembly, instead of a loose body of work (that's a hit at the slew of contemporary pop singers who are singles artists).

On the gloomy "Haunted", Beyoncé even hints at the album's future success (or lack thereof): "This probably won't sell," she says. "I don't trust these record labels, I'm torn."

The album marks a powerful time for Beyoncé. While her competitors include acts like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga — singers who consistently release chart-topping songs — Beyoncé jumps back in front of the pack with an album that is both commercially appealing and artistically enticing.

She kicks off the 14-track set in a supreme way with the Sia-penned "Pretty Hurts," a mellow R&B number about the sickness behind attempting perfection. It's matched with a beautiful video — as are the other songs — and features lyrics like, "It's the soul that needs surgery." That's followed with the Jay Z-assisted "Drunk in Love," a strikingly thumping, sexually charged jam that's irresistible. And sexuality is a large part of Beyoncé's album.

On the old school-flavoured "Blow," one of the disc's best tracks, Beyoncé sings proudly of hitting the sheets with her lover, and on "Rocket," co-written with Justin Timberlake, she provides a Quiet Storm-anthem, where she sings softly: "Punish me, punish me please." On the falsetto-heavy "No Angel," Beyoncé declares she's a freak.

The songs on Beyoncé often double up in sound like two tracks combined, in the vein of Timberlake's work, though most of Beyoncé's songs aren't as long. “Flawless" interpolates parts of the previously released "Bow Down/I Been On" and is full of swag, much like the beat-heavy "Partition."

Beyoncé, a mostly guarded celebrity, has become more open over the years, and that's especially the case with songs like the self-explanatory "Jealous" and "Heaven," a soft and slow song about a loved one's death that could refer to her miscarriages.

"Blue," which includes the voice of her daughter Blue Ivy, closes the album and features Beyoncé's beautiful tone and pitch. And that's just it — Beyoncé is pitch perfect.

Watch and listen to clips of the new songs here:

Watch a video for Drunk In Love here:

Read more on:    beyonce  |  music

Laurencia Paulsen 2014/01/09 9:07 AM
its best thing in music ryt now its all me and my freinds listen to
Andisiwe Manzi 2014/01/10 9:35 AM
The best album of 2013 for me. Partition and XO are always on repeat..
Nate 2014/01/15 12:24 PM
Just as bad as everything else she releases
Aslam Daweti-Khumalo 2014/01/24 9:47 PM
I love this album. It is so different from what Bey has done in the past. Its grown and I find myself listening to it. With the previous four albums, all I did was dance. It is not something one would you be madly in love with after the first listem, it grows on you. Pretty Hurts and OX stand out for me in this album. Out of 10, I give a fat 7.
Sadie 2014/02/18 11:52 AM
I am a HUGE Beyoncé fan and once again, she has not disappointed me!! I just love her new album!!
Ashley February 2014/02/28 9:14 AM
She's really pushing the envelope on this album. At the moment im loving the songs: OX, Blow, Haunted and most importantly Drunk in Love. This WOMAN is ruling the world. In my opinion hugely congrats on a stunning album
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