If you've talked to someone at work this week, watched a news program or spent any amount of time on the Internet, then you know that Beyonce released a surprise album last week -- titled BEYONCÉ.
It was called a "visual album" because of the fact that she released 17 videos along with the 14 songs -- all at once on iTunes. Without any buildup or promotion at all, Beyonce's album went to number one. Talk about a marketing plan that worked to perfection!
While I've never been the biggest fan of Beyonce (I liked a few of her Destiny's Child songs and enjoyed listening to "Crazy In Love," but I wouldn't call myself a fan), I was impressed with the way she released the album and thought I'd check it out.
I've seen a lot of people tweeting about it being flawless and mentioning that Beyonce showed a lot of growth on this album. After listening to it, I can't say I agree. More often than not, the album is boring, plain and has very few moments where Beyonce actually sings.
Rhythm and blues isn't a genre I always enjoy, but when done right, it can be good. While the album sales are obviously in Beyonce's favor, she didn't impress this reviewer. If you're looking for a review full of praise, you might want to skip this one.
The message of this song is very positive, talking about the pressures to look a certain way:
"Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says, "Bigger is better."
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says, "Thinner is better."
While the lyrics are impressive and thought-provoking, the song itself doesn't leave much of an impression.
The song has an appropriate title, as the music is eerie, yet catchy. Beyonce isn’t quite rapping on this song, but she’s definitely not singing until about half way through. It’s more like she’s making short declarative statements.
When she does start singing, it seems a bit uninspired though. It's the music that makes this song good.
Drunk In Love (featuring Jay Z)
There is some interesting arab music beginning. The first couple of minutes of the song is Beyonce trying to do her best Nicki Minaj, but Nicki does it much, much better. There is no catchy party of this song. It seems like Beyonce lifted a veil into her private life with Jay Z, which I really don’t care to know about.
"Boy, I'm drinking, park it in my lot, 7-11
I’m rubbing on it, rub-rubbing"
Regardless of the suggestive, if not explicit, lyrics, the song is fairly boring. Beyonce repeats several words over. Rather than singing, it's like she put several thoughts down on paper and is going over them before a performance.
I’ve never been a big fan of Jay Z, but his addition actually made the song more exciting. It’s a mixed bag with this one. There are parts that work and others that don’t.
This is the first song on the album that had some promise. It started off as more of a jazz song and then morphed into a funky disco tune. Unfortunately it was another song about getting it on. It very easily could have ended up being "Drunk In Love" part 2, but the music is interesting enough to stand out. It’s something Janet Jackson probably could have included on All for You.
With the moaning and the lyrics, it makes me wonder if people actually like listening to such intimate to songs? Kinda feels awkward.
Continuing the trend she started at the beginning of this album, Beyonce doesn’t exactly sing on this track. This time around, it’s a series of high pitched, breathy words. The falsetto and heavy bass doesn't really add to the song but doesn't take away from it either.
This song starts with Beyonce telling the crowd to say, “Hey Mrs. Carter.” It’s got a funky vibe to it -- probably thanks to Timbaland. "Partition" kind of reminds me of something you'd hear from Eve or Fergie.
Beyonce warns that she's trouble in this song:
"Underneath the pretty face is something complicated
I come with a side of trouble
But I know that's why you're staying"
Half way through the song there’s a sound bite of foreign reporters calling Beyonce’s name.
That's when the song takes a switch in theme and sound.
Now it’s about getting it on in the limo.
"First go through my legs, go back on your head
And whatever you want, yeah baby I'll bet it comes true"
Even though she couldn’t seem to settle on one coherent sound for the song, the switching gears helps make the song interesting.
Another song about having sex.
“Let me sit this ass on you/show you how I feel.”
Later she sings: Feel my river flow and flow.”
A couple of sensual songs is one thing, but four or five? I get it Beyonce: you still like to make love to your hubby even though you’re now a Momma.
The sex theme is overdone on BEYONCÉ, no doubt, but my biggest complaint is that these songs have all been lackluster. There is nothing even remotely close to "Single Ladies" or "Bootylicious."
The awesomeness that was on “Crazy In Love,” the uniqueness found on “Baby Boy,” the old school sound that was featured on “Love on Top,” and the emotion that was showcased on “If I Were A Boy” are all missing off this album.
Even “Irreplaceable,” which I thought was so-so, seems like an awesome song compared to every single one on this album so far.
Okay, rant over. Back to the album review.
The music is the most interesting part of this song. It never gets that exciting though.
Beyonce starts off this song by singing, “Let me sit this ass on you.” It’s definitely a sensual song, but after the three other previous songs about sex, this just comes off as Beyonce having nothing else to sing about.
Mine (featuring Drake)
The closest thing to singing that Beyonce has gotten so far is on "Mine."
This one starts off pretty cool. It actually has some energy to it. Ryan Tedder was involved, so maybe that's why.
Unfortunately it’s the shortest song on the entire album.
Watch the video on YouTube
***Flawless (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche)
Once again, Beyonce uses an actual sound clip in the intro -- this time from a previous talent competition in Houston.
This would be Beyonce’s ego-boosting, PSA song.
With lyrics like “I took some time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his little wife,” and the demand to “Bow down bitches," Beyonce is living up to her Queen B title.
Superpower (feat. Frank Ocean)
Even though this song, once again, has a slower mood to it, there’s something different about it that makes it more interesting than a most of the other songs on the album
Another slower track, but the piano and Beyonce’s voice match up beautifully. It’s the power ballad that should’ve been featured much sooner. Beyonce has singing talent -- no doubt. I just don't understand why she doesn't use it more often.
The song didn’t need the Spanish prayer ending. It seems kind of out of place, but it works.
Blue (feat. Blue Ivy)
Beyonce’s voice is light and pleasant in this tune, but the song is too boring to take a liking to. It comes closer to being interesting than some of the other songs on the album, but is still missing something to be anything more than an album filler.
Overall I was disappointed. Like I said before, contemporary rhythm and blues is not typically my genre of choice, but Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Emeli Sandé all seem to cover that genre better than Beyonce does. She should leave the rapping to ladies like Nicki Minaj, Eve and Lil’ Kim. Even Pink is better at it.
As for the multiple songs focusing on sex? Maybe she’s trying to compete with Miley? The difference is that Miley’s songs at least sound interesting. BEYONCÉ, more often than not, is boredom.
If this is the new Beyonce, I want the old one back.
Songs worth checking out:
• Some 'Should Be' Duets
• Jamie Lynn Spears...has talent
• Fall Out Boy: Save Rock and Roll - reviewed.
• Ke$ha: Warrior – reviewed.