Monday 30 December 2013

Review of "Beyoncé" by Beyoncé

Well done Beyoncé for becoming a mother, but did little baby Ivy Blue really need to make a vocal contribution on the final track? Did we really need another duet between you and your darling husband, Jay-Z, to show us how “Drunk in Love” the two of you are? Did I really just hear you utter the line “Can you lick my skittles?” on the track “Blow”?

This latest album by Beyoncé (entitled Beyoncé) is certainly not short of corny moments. However, to call it a bad album would certainly be an insult. The rock-loving, pop-hating part of me that values its masculinity wanted to dislike this album. Beyoncé writes songs about women ruling the world and all that other stuff that men fear. Perhaps it was the lack of bra-burning and the greater focus on sexiness that made this album largely enjoyable to me. Maybe it was the fact that musically, this album was actually pretty damn decent.

The pop shackles have been broken and this new album sees Beyoncé taking a freer, less commercial approach to music, much like Lady Gaga did on her recent release, Artpop. Tracks such as Haunted break the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure, whilst incorporating a wide array of R&b, hip hop and electronic instrumentals. Unlike Artpop, however this record contains charm. Lyrically, each track is introspective and meaningful. Although the songs lack a certain catchiness, they make up for it by employing an infectiously positive aura that makes it impossible not to feel proud of Beyoncé’s life achievements and proud to be alive.

It’s a sugary album, sometimes sickeningly sugary but overall gratifying.