“Beyoncé” Review

R&B superstar Beyoncé (creatively known simply by her first name) Knowles’s fifth solo album “Beyoncé” may host a simple name, but boasts an amazing success rate. The official album was originally released Dec. 13, 2013, but since that date more tracks have been spontaneously added to the collection. Beyoncé’s creative team managed to keep the album a secret– no tracks were leaked before the intended release date, no one exposed the production of the intricate music videos, and, most shockingly, absolutely no advertising was pushed. Beyoncé herself made the decision to keep the release a surprise.

“I felt like, I don’t want anybody to get the message, when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans,” a short-film directed by and starring Beyoncé said.

Since the album’s uniquely quiet release, it has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Beyoncé won multiple awards at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards for her Cinematography, and singles from the album holding spots at the top of the Billboard 100 for weeks at a time.

“Beyoncé” drips with a raw, honest tribute to its singer’s life– the tracks vibrate with fun, 80s pop beats while mixing in voice clips, moving lyrics, and feminist messages. “Beyoncé” pushes boundaries by approaching the concept of marriage (the singer is happily wed to rapper Jay-Z) from a standpoint of balanced power and raw sexuality. A track-by-track breakdown is the most efficient way to cover every beautifully composed note.

  1. Pretty Hurts- The first track in “Beyoncé” pushes the message that girls should appreciate their own bodies and looks and ignore the insane expectations of society. It begins with a voice clip of a pageant– setting the theme of a young girl struggling with image. Beyoncé shows off her vocals with a beat that’s both airy and deeply bass simultaneously.
  2. Haunted- Beginning with a flashback voice clip of a young Beyoncé performing, the darkly bass track vibrates with a moving rap telling the story of succeeding in the cutthroat music industry, then cuts to a beautifully high pitched refrain. The beat “drops” about halfway through the song, and it becomes a great dance track.
  3. Drunk in Love- An immensely popular love ballad, the song glows with the glowing infatuation towards Jay-Z and the sexual prowess Beyoncé boasts. Following the overall theme of the album, the track combines rap and talented vocals effortlessly.
  4. Blow- My least favorite track on the album, this song is a bit too upbeat and reminiscent of 1980s pop for my tastes. However, it still rocks a catchy tune and fun lyrics.
  5. No Angel- A high pitched, breathy ode to a lover, Beyoncé proclaims her adoration for her husband again by saying that she loves him even more because he’s not perfect.
  6. Partition- My favorite track and possibly one of my favorite songs of all time. Incredibly sensual and catchy, the beat is almost impossible not to dance to. The song starts with a deep rap, cuts to camera flashes, and then a quick hip-hop tune.
  7. Jealous- Opening with dark clashing tones and sirens, breathy vocals that mix with voice clips of a man lying on a cell phone combine with a melody that honestly displays the emotions of a scorned lover.
  8. Rocket- Probably the most directly sexual track, “Rocket” tells a straightforward story of an excited Beyoncé asking for her lover’s touch.
  9. Mine (feat. Drake)- Boasting a tribal beat and skilled rap phrases from Drake, this song tells another love story, but in a way that brings the image of a slow hip hop duet to life in the listener’s mind.
  10. XO- This track actually caused some controversy– it opens with the final audio recording transmitted by the NASA Challenger space shuttle before it exploded in disaster. That aside, it’s a beautiful melody describing the power of love in times of hardship.
  11. ***Flawless (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)- My other favorite, “Flawless” is an empowering track for the modern feminist– it exemplifies how a woman can be both powerful and sexual.
  12. Superpower (feat. Frank Ocean)- Two incredibly talented artists joined to create a lovely deep, slow, moving track about the strength of a couple in love.
  13. Heaven- A soulful tune of remembrance, “Heaven” is speculated to commemorate Beyoncé’s emotionally painful miscarriage.
  14. Blue (feat. Blue Ivy)- This track adorably features real clips of Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, laughing and babbling “I love you.” It’s a fresh, light ballad to the bond between mother and daugther, and the beat makes the reader want to sway along with their eyes closed in relaxation.
  15. 7/11- One of two newly released additions to the album, this track revolves around “smack it in the air.” A fun, “twerk-able” beat, this song is definitely made for dancing around at parties or with friends.
  16. Ring Off- The second new addition, an island beat and honest lyrics reveal Beyoncé’s opinion on her parents’ divorce in a lovely ballad to her mother.

While the album may have been released almost a year ago, its songs are still thriving and raw today. I love how Beyoncé blends the modern woman ideal with empowered sexuality, and appreciate how honestly she discusses her personal relationships. Plus, the tracks are great to dance to.