BEYONCE Album Review: Contradicting But Bearable For The Most Part

Jessi Green | December 28, 2013

Beyoncé Beyoncé Album Cover

After delivering the biggest shock of 2013 in the music industry (releasing a surprise album on iTunes that nobody was aware of) and becoming the fastest female seller of the year, it is unsurprising that Beyonce’s record label is happy with her album.

However after two weeks have passed, it is important to ask whether Beyonce’s commercial success is on par with the album’s material.

The simple answer is no. With production including the world’s hottest and talented producers from The Dream, Timbaland, Boots and Ryan Tedder, one would assume that the project would be nothing short of amazing.

Tracklisting:

1. Pretty Hurts
2. Haunted
3. Drunk in Love (Featuring Jay-Z)
4. Blow/Cherry
5. No Angel
6. Yoncé / Partition
7. Jealous
8. Rocket
9. Mine (Featuring Drake)
10. XO
11. ***Flawless (Featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
12. Superpower(Featuring Frank Ocean)
13. Heaven
14. Blue (Featuring Blue Ivy)

Beyonce’s biggest mistake is not letting her fans know the real her. Although her album suggests that she is a feminist who is ‘bored’ with record labels and she is all about female empowerment, her real-life actions suggest otherwise.

An example being her endorsement of gun control with other celebrities such as Jamie Foxx which is very contradictory considering that it was only a couple of years ago she was glorifying guns in her ‘Video Phone’ music video with Lady Gaga.

This mismatch of the real Beyonce and the superstar Beyonce is more so clear on her new album, BEYONCE. On the opening track ‘Pretty Hurts’ she tackles issues such as body image along the lines of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’. Such a song would be more convincing from a person who does not propagate false imagery in celebrity magazines and professional images.

On ‘Haunted’ it is clear that Beyonce wants to be seen as a ‘serious’ artist who has evolved from her previous eras where smash hits such as ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘De Ja Vu’ sparked wide interest from the general public. She speaks ‘These record labels boring, all I do is boring”. However, again, it is hard to just take the music at face value on further songs such as ‘Flawless’ and ‘Jealous’ which explores her feminism and explores female empowerment.

Such songs would again be convincing if she did not endorse Pepsi whilst promoting herself as an obesity-tackle ambassador. It is clear that Beyonce wants her fans to believe that she is this feminist, human and serious ‘artist’. However, this simply does not match up to her actions as a celebrity and this hampers the album’s material and makes it unbelievable and very manufactured.

A shocking point on the album is her collaboration with her husband Jay Z, on the urban track ‘Drunk in Love’ which is clearly endorsing domestic violence by referencing the domestic abuse that legend Tina Turner suffered. This is another point which makes BEYONCE unbelievable. How can a pop star who promotes self-empowerment by releasing tracks such as ‘Single
Ladies’ be so irresponsible by allowing her husband to refer to such a serious issue lightly which is still very much happening in society today?

Again, we can see the battle between Beyonce wanting to be a serious artist yet not really knowing how to. I don’t want to go into the false songwriting claims that Beyonce usually gets attached to her name, but it seems like Beyonce did not really think about what she is writing, if indeed she did write ‘Drunk in Love’.

However the album is not all contradicting and allows the listener to just enjoy the music without cliché lyrics. For example, she soars on tracks such as ‘Blow’ a delicious funky pop RnB track which reminds me of her previous work on ‘4’.

Also not all of her collaborations have shockingly irresponsible lyrics like ‘Drunk in Love.’ For example, ‘Mine’ (featuring Drake) and ‘Superpower’ (featuring Frank Ocean) are enjoyable as it is a departure from her previous songs where the instrumentals have been predictable and generic (see XO which sounds like the instrumental to Rose Coloured Glasses by Kelly Rowland and produced by Dr Luke).

Overall, BEYONCE reminds us why Beyonce is a talented and vocally impressive artist but does not do anything to persuade the listener as to how Beyonce has evolved. The themes that surround the album are in contradiction to what Beyonce has said and done in practice and in reality.

In 2013 both the music and the artist’s personality and actions count towards whether a project is believable and authentic. BEYONCE, however, is not.

Favorite tracks: Mine, Haunted, Blue, Rocket, No Angel

Worst tracks: Drunk in Love, Partition, Pretty Hurts

Overall: 6.5/10

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Category: Album Reviews