Beyoncé

Beyoncé

Columbia

Jan 17, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Released with nary a marketing campaign, Beyoncé's self-titled new album exploded on the scene two weeks before Christmas, debuting on iTunes and immediately selling over 600,000 copies in its first weekno small feat in 2013. Sure, Bey's always been a big sellerbut for perhaps the first time ever, her album seemed intended to be taken as a cohesive whole, rather than as a vehicle for world-dominating singles.

And cohesive it is. While there are songs that will work as singles ("XO" made a strong case as song of the year, even though it was released after most year-end lists were already compiled, and "Blow" could skyrocket up the charts), overall, this is Beyoncé at her most experimental and, yes, risky. It's remarkable to hear a pop star at the height of her arena-tour powers taking chances like "Haunted," a dirge of a song that behaves more as spoken word until it's "Vogue"-y breakdown, or writing with the bracing honesty of the difficulty of marriage after childbirth in "Mine." Her ode to her daughter in "Blue" could have been saccharine in all the worst ways, but its effect is a wonderful and a pure expression of parental love. Even the experiments that don't work as well ("No Angel" is a little boring) come off looking better because so much of the album is so musically progressive.

Beyoncé is also surprising for its sexual frankness. Gone is the teasing Baptist Beyoncé of old-here is, to borrow one of Bey's phrases, a "grown woman" who knows exactly what she wants. The album's steamiest tracks function as both a clarion call of strong female sexuality and as explicit odes to monogamy. Sure, Beyoncé will have sex with Jay-Z in the back of a limo ("Partition"), but she's just as likely to be goading him with lyrics that will surely make Blue Ivy blush someday ("Blow). And if you thought that D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" was the sexiest song evera totally valid thought, by the waywait till you hear "Rocket."

The album isn't without its flaws-"Heaven" and "Pretty Hurts" are okay songs, but a little on the nose. And it's weird to hear female empowerment anthems like "Pretty Hurts" and "***Flawless" in the same album that's, well, also very indebted to Beyoncé's sex appeal. It's sort of like saying, "You don't have to be anyone's ideal of beauty, but let me tell you, it's AWESOME to be me." Regardless of that nagging contradiction, it's still a massive leap forwardhearing a superstar be honest about her desires, in love with a family, and calling for an end to unrealistic expectations for women is a pretty great thing to have on a platinum-selling album. (www.beyonce.com)

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Tiara
February 12th 2014
7:37pm

You didn’t understand ***Flawless at all. The point is WE are all Flawless without feeling the need to do anything else. The message of Pretty Hurts and ***Flawless are ONE and COHESIVE. YOU wake up, YOU’RE flawless. She’s not saying “I”. And she says “Ladies tell em, I woke up like this.”

Feminists are so often marginalized by this image of a sexless, joyless human and those restrictions serve to degrade female perspectives even further.

Top Hip Hop Music
October 4th 2015
8:12pm

I believe what Beyonce is trying to say in these songs is that when society envisions a woman to respect only marriage and to be a house maid, that is what degrades them. The fact is that women can accomplish whatever a man does. There shouldn’t be sexism involved. Look at Beyonce now.

She is on top of her game. Why wouldn’t the judges see what the GirlzTime was going to accomplish? She shows that video because you don’t see that rock band that beat them anywhere. Shouldn’t they be more popular than Beyonce?

They aren’t and that is because judging talent should never be in the hands of a few people. The public should decide every time. I have other descriptions about Beyonce’s music. I always like to see what others think whether I have the right approach on her meanings or if there is more detail to know. As far as what her approach is on the message she is trying to give, I think it involves the basics.

She wants everyone to know that women should never be judged to be only house wives when they get married. Like men, they can also do anything that they set their minds to. It’s all about what ambition a person has in them in order to become successful. Those guys from that group obviously didn’t want to take it as far as Beyonce did.

They won a contest that got them no where. Beyonce on the other hand wanted a career. She pushed to be the best she could. Beyonce continues to create talent that many others wouldn’t be able to do in a lifetime. They choose not to.

She chooses to be on top. That makes her number one on the charts. It’s all do to her will of accomplishing the most she possibly can. I am very proud of her work and proud to be a fan of a female artists that will continue to grow because of who she is inside.