Now this was something no one saw coming! In the age where artists begin promoting their works months in advance and spend tones of money, the release of Beyoncé fifth studio album was a surprise. I have been waiting for her new album for years. Was it any good? Overall, the album had a nice tone but I felt it missed the magic from her earlier works.
Titled ‘Beyoncé’ it was released on 12th December, a few hours before midnight. And as can be expected, caused a Twitter frenzy and iTunes meltdown as fans reacted to the new offering by the star. The project is begin called a ‘visual album’ because 17 videos accompany the 14 new songs. There’s no denying that Beyoncé Knowles is a force to be reckoned with. Her ‘Miss Carter’ World Tour is still continuing, she’s also a mother, and she still found the time to record 17 music videos as well as an album. She also serves as co-writer as well as producer in all of the songs.
The first song is titled ‘Pretty Hurts’. It’s 4 minutes and 17 seconds long and Beyoncé sings about how girls are taught to act and be pretty from a very young age. She also sings about how the television tells flat-chested girls that ‘bigger is better’ and how females have to mold themselves in what the society deems as pretty. And even if women get ‘plastic mouths’ and what not, people can’t see the ‘soul that needs surgery’. It’s a good way to open the album and a lot of young girls will get the message Knowles is trying to convey.
The next song is ‘Haunted’. There’s a loop of ‘Working 9 to 5 to stay alive’ that I enjoyed in the song. The beat is awesome with Beyoncé’s haunting voice in the background. It’s completely different from the first song and changes the tone of the album. It’s one of the songs that stood out for me. She sings directly to her lover and tells him to have his way with her. The lyrics are repetitive but even then the song is very enjoyable. I actually ended up closing my eyes and swaying to the music.
‘Drunk in Love’ is a collaboration with Jay-Z. I love ‘Crazy In Love’ and I had high expectations for this one. However, it’s quite different from the high-beat Crazy In Love. Beyoncé sings about being drunk in love with her husband all night along. It’s an enjoyable romantic song with some naughty lyrics. It’s 5 minutes and 23 seconds and that’s why after a while it felt as if the lyrics were repeating themselves. Jay-Z’s section is fun to listen to. The whole song is about making love and Beyoncé’s voice seems to be enjoying singing it.
In ‘Blow’ Beyoncé goes old-school. The song changes it’s style about three minutes in, with Beyoncé’ telling that she’s about to ‘Get into this, girls’ and then the song comes back to its original tune. It’s a fun song, a different style, but it wasn’t remember able for me. With names like Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Justin Timberlake working with Beyoncé on this song, I was expecting something better. Maybe I’ll begin to enjoy it after hearing it a few more times?
In ‘No Angel’ she sings about her lover who, just like her, isn’t an angel. I could only listen to the song once. It wasn’t catchy to me. It felt she was singing like Mariah Carey in this one, with her ‘whispery’ voice. The ‘No, no, no’ at the end was the only thing I liked along with some parts of the music.
‘Partition’ brought me back to enjoying the album. She sings about getting ready for her lover and she wants him to tell her how she looks. The lyrics are fun especially ‘Yonce all, on his mouth like liquor’ along with ‘Take all of me/I just wanna be the girl you like’. She knows that her man likes her and she’s enjoys the attention. The fingers snapping in the background adds to the song. Even if the song was a bit over five minutes, I loved every second of it.
The next song is ‘Jealousy’ and the lyrics are amazing. She isn’t afraid to admit that she’s jealous. She loves her lover too much and she’s waiting for him to come to the penthouse and eat the food she has prepared. From what I got from the song, her lover doesn’t love her as much as she does. She wants him to feel what she’s feeling. The song is quite ‘raw’. It even refers to the freakum dress she sang about in her album ‘B.Day’. The lyrics ‘Sometimes I want to walk in your shoes/Do the type of things I will never ever do’ were one of the highlights of the song.
Being six and a half minutes long, I didn’t enjoy ‘Rocket’ at all. Yes, Beyoncé’ sings it quite well but it just didn’t do it for me. The same can be said about ‘Mine’ that features Drake who does have an enjoyable bit in the song. She sings about not making a big deal about little things and that ‘I just wanna say you’re mine’. Hearing romantic songs one after another really made me wish for something different next. ‘XO’ did change the direction a little bit but it was again a romantic song with her singing ‘Baby kiss me/Before they turn the lights out’.
The snippet she released some months ago as ‘Bow Down’ is the next song titled ‘Flawless’ and it features Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The lyrics are about women empowerment. She sings about raising little girls to not have too many ambitions, have the only aim of marrying, and doing everything to please their man, who has the upper hand in society. But Beyoncé’ wants to go against these notions and tells the women to speak their minds, just like her family taught her. It isn’t a Beyoncé album without a song about woman empowerment and ‘Flawless’ is another feather in her cap.
‘Superpower’ features Frank Ocean and they talk about the subtle power of ‘tough love’. She sings that the world can’t bring her or her love down. It’s quite a slow song and after the enjoyable ‘Flawless’ I couldn’t bring myself to fully enjoy this one.
‘Heaven’ is about mourning the death of a loved on. The lyrics ‘Heaven couldn’t wait for you’ feel very strong in the song. She continues to sing about the things her lover taught her and all the memories she now has. There’s a lot of emotion in her voice. Though it’s not as strong as ‘I Was Here’ from her album ‘4’ it’s still one of the better songs in the track list that showcases her strong voice.
‘Blue’ features Beyoncé’ and Jay-Z’s daughter Blue Ivy, and it’s about how much she loves her daughter. It’s a nice song about the love a mother shares with her children.
In the end, Beyoncé is an album that left me wanting more from the singer. There weren’t a lot of dance numbers. She sang beautifully but I was left waiting for a song or two that would make me go ‘Wow!’: Songs like Baby Boy, Crazy In Love, Single Ladies, Halo, I Was Here, and I Care (just to name a few from her previous albums).
What did you think about the album? Did you enjoy all the songs? Please share!