Beyoncé – Beyoncé
As ever, Beyoncé’s exquisite vocal storms in the opening track Pretty Hurts, where she announces her aspiration in life is “to be happy”. This is clearly a very personal record, a reflection of the superstar’s achievements and values. Haunted opens with a recording of her winning a talent contest as a child, thanking her parents and the people of hometown Houston. Despite this touching element, the track is questionable in its build and structure as it experiments with the bass and electro theme.
Drunk in Love is classically R&B, featuring her husband’s Jay-Z rapping talents. It’s followed by Blow, a jazzier song that echoes the popularity of single Love On Top yet far more sexually (and rather explicitly) charged – but she does sexy so well. However, the following track No Angel has an exhaustingly breathy vocal and lacks a journey.
Street wise, maternal Beyoncé: the beacon of female empowerment is biting with this album against tradition and expectation. Her priorities have clearly changed, her values have grown, yet her means of expression remain rooted in her music – evident in this record. Released as a visual album containing 14 vocal tracks and 17 videos she’s emblazoning the music industry’s probable future style.
As the album unfolds, Mine starts as a calming ballad, with lyrical enchantment then grows into an electro, rhythmic conversation with artist Drake. XO provides an uplifting build and a rawer vocal quality. Flawless which was heard earlier this year, seems unfortunately arrogant: “Bow down, b*****s” but also includes an illuminating speech about the role of women: “We teach girls they cannot be sexual beings… Because I am a woman, I am expected to aspire to marriage.”
Concluding the album with Blue, featuring her daughter, confirms her transitional period in her life and the discovery of “happy”. This album is unconventional and a sure statement. Queen Bey, and the proud Mrs Carter confidently still reigns.
Beyoncé was released on Friday 13th December, exclusively in digital format on iTunes. For further information visit here.
Watch the preview of opening track Pretty Hurts here: