BWW Reviews: BEYONCE Triumphs with New Album 'Beyonce'
On Thursday, December 13, at midnight, one of pop's reigning superstars did something the public and the media never expected. She released a new album with no prior announcements, no radio singles, and no 12-year-old friendly songs. Ms. Knowles also came out with an album which triumphs over Artpop, Prism and Bangerz, to name some of the major pop albums of this year. Where those albums were watered down due to their radio-oriented material, Beyoncé has achieved something commendable.
By writing and recording an album that, despite the wealth of major artists associated with it, was able to stay under the radar, Beyoncé has created a set of songs, and their respective videos that show one thing: she knows she can get away with what she wants. This album is, in no way, short on both innuendo and flat out sexually explicit material.
On Blow, a sensual ballad, Beyoncé sings, "Can you lick my skittles/That's the sweetest in the middle/Pink is the flavor/Solve the riddle." Yet, this innuendo later makes way for some straightforward sex talk. On Partition, Beyoncé asks the driver to roll up the partition since she doesn't want him seeing her on her knees.
This content is all over BEYONCÉ, an album that has more in common with a Prince album, than with any of Beyoncé's older material. Another thing that is very much a change from previous albums is that Beyoncé does the now popular sing-rapping. On the song "***Flawless," which is an expansion of Beyoncé's release "Bow Down" from earlier this year, she goes from singing about how she knows that as little kids we dreamed of being in her world, to growling "Bow down b****es." This comes off as abrasive. However, with the assistance of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian feminist author, Beyoncé makes it clear that she is making a feminist statement.
Between the sexually explicit lyrics, and the different delivery style it would seem that a lot has changed. Yet, there are two other aspects to discuss. The first of these is the musical backdrop. Where previous Beyoncé albums hinged on big, jazzy and African beats, BEYONCÉ builds on minimal electro beats. The tracks themselves are very much electronic.
Finally, there is her "visual album" format. Each song on the album has its own video. The songs and the videos are meant to work together, so, the videos have a certain synergy with the songs. Therefore, the songs seem incomplete without the videos. As beautiful as the melodies and beats are, and as lyrically on point as Beyoncé is with the songs, the format of the album seems to discount the songs. Overall, though, as Queen Bey had hoped, this album will make "b***es" bow down.
To watch clips from 17 new videos from 'Beyonce' click here!