Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beyoncé Releases Her Best Album

Last month Beyoncé released her fifth album with 20 minutes notice. This surprise, self-titled record is her best. While I find her to be overrated Beyoncé does make some good music and this album is her best.
Dubbed a "visual album" each song has it's own music video and there are three bonus videos. The album explores insecurity, beauty, motherhood, relationships, female empowerment and sexuality. The music incorporates R&B, trap, hip hop, electro, soul and indie influences and shows Beyoncé experimenting with new sounds. Gone is the cookie cutter R&B singer of her first few albums and here we have a woman who is not afraid to try new sounds.
Beyoncé shows strength on songs like "Partition,"  "Blow" and "Rocket." These songs are sexual and contain a certain sexuality. First single "Drunk in Love" featuring husband Jay-Z also embody sexuality and lust.
While Beyoncé shows her strength she also shows some of her most vulnerable points on songs like "Pretty Hurts," "Blue" which features her daughter Blue Ivy, "Jealous," "Mine," and "Heaven." These songs are where Beyoncé really shines. "Pretty Hurts" deals with pageant girls and is a female empowerment anthem that has small spots of insecurity in it's lyrics.
"Just another stage/ Pageant the pain away/ This time I'm gonna take the crown/ Without falling down, down," Beyoncé sings during the first verse.
"Blue" is a song dedicated to her daughter and shows how much she loves her. "Jealous" deals with jealousy and shows Beyoncé channeling Lana Del Rey. "Mine" features Drake and is a song that deals with post partum depression. "Heaven" is a gorgeous ballad that discusses the death of a loved one. This song is perhaps the most vulnerable Beyoncé has ever been.
The album's two best songs are "Flawless" and "XO." "Flawless" is a trap influenced song that deals with female empowerment. The song features writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reciting an excerpt of her speech "We should all be feminists..."  The song exudes confidence is shows Beyoncé at her best.
"Bow down bitches," Beyoncé sings repeatedly during the first verse.
Single "XO" is a gorgeous electronic pop ballad that features influences of indie pop. It's a gorgeous love song and shows Beyoncé being vulnerable and talking about her relationship with Jay-Z.
Another album highlight is "Grown Woman." This is one of the bonus videos and was featured in her Pepsi commercials. This song is a fast paced song that should be on the actual album and could very well be a single.
All in all Beyoncé changed the game with this record. Her surprise release will definitely shift the way the music industry works and that's a good thing.

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