I intentionally waited for some of the overly eager hype to die down from Beyoncé's self-titled album before I reviewed it. As excited as I was for the secret release, great music it came with, the visuals, and utterly universal shock to social media I didn't lose my mind.
However, I cannot say the same for everyone else.
Between people calling her [Beyoncé] a feminist, a whore, the Second Coming, King Bey, and a whole line of nonsensical stuff that I have no intention of repeating I just listened to the tracks, watched a few of the videos, and waited for my spot. As you could probably tell, this is my spot.
Beyoncé is an unexpected album simply because it differs a lot from past albums. The album as a whole has stronger sexual imagery and overtones but it is done in such a way that it is pleasing to the ears. I found myself completely enthralled by this effort, akin to who I was when I first heard Dangerously In Love.This album shows growth because it showcases Beyoncé embracing and revealing all parts of her womanhood: wife, mother, lover, and so much more. It's her way of saying "I'm a woman, I am sexual, I embrace my imperfection, and not afraid to be me." This album to me feels like something a coming out album.
Here are my standout tracks.
Against my personal rule about liking tracks that are heavy in the mainstream, I fell in love with "Drunk In Love". Every moment after that eerie almost Middle Eastern sounding introduction is purely catchy and infectious for no damn reason. I love the delivery of the words here. To me on this one she finally shows you her Southern heritage. Husband Jay-Z comes through to drop a strong verse and add to an already amazing song. I guess it can be noted that this song brought the sexual position "the surfboard" into vogue.
"Flawless" is a great song and makes a major case for Beyoncé being something of a feminist. It speaks on the pressure to be beautiful and just aspiring to be a wife. I loved such a deep thought from her [Beyoncé] amid all the music.
A series of samples from "We should all be feminists", a speech delivered by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at a TEDxEuston conference in April 2013, forms the second verse of the song:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, 'You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man.' Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors – not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes."
These two are my top favorites but I would suggest checking out "Superpower" featuring Frank Ocean, "Blow", and "Mine" featuring Drake. Hell, the whole album is worth a listen. Be sure to check out the visuals as well.
Beyoncé proves with this album exactly why she evokes such strong emotion from her fans and her detractors. Hate her or love her, you cannot deny the talent that she exhibits. This self-titled is a prime example of it.
-written by Lucius Black for Street Thoughts/Royalty Magazine 2013