HYPEWORTHY: Beyoncé Strikes Again with Surprise Album
Written by S. Renée
Destiny’s Child is all grown up. Once the lead singer of the turn of the century über popular girl group, Beyoncé has matured into an all-seeing, all-achieveing entertainment powerhouse, performing the walls off every venue she’s stepped her glittery-heeled feet into. She’s solidified her slot in history by breaking record after record in the books, and has stacked her pockets year after year, raking in album & product sales, and becoming a face for several recognized brands, including H & M, Pepsi & L’Oreal. As if those tasks weren’t daunting enough, the Houston native also finds time to play mother and wife, travel the world, and, in most recent news, drop her fifth and self-titled studio album, a visual project complete with a slew of brand new tracks and videos for the world’s viewing consumption, without promotion. Within just one week, the album has sold one million digital copies via iTunes, was number one in 104 countries, and has made the star the first female artist in the chart’s history to have her first five studio albums debut at number one. Without a hint of hesitation, the “Single Lades” singer has mastered the ever elusive formula for success.
Personally, I enjoy Beyoncé’s music and message. Her vocal ability and “modern-feminism” stance attracts my attention. However, I was not always on the singer’s bandwagon. It wasn’t until she began de-mystifying her celebrity and breaking away from her once seemingly robotic shell into a human with realistic dimensions that I began to take real notice of the complexities of her character. It’s the complexities, the dynamics, that draw us nearer to fellow humans, and as of late, Beyoncé has shown, if even still a slight façade, a truer sense of self-awareness and appreciation. Her marriage to entertainer and business man Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z), and the birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy, may definitely have a hand in this transformation, as life change has been known to bring about a difference in people, celebrity or not. What’s most apparent, especially in this project, is that she’s found her own voice, and has finally put the roar in her rhythm. Its raw, racy and respectable, all at the same time, only something an artist of her stature could so easily and favorably achieve. So, in quick rank and rundown style, here’s BEYONCÉ:
Drunk in Love. Surfboards in tow, this sequel to 2003’s “Crazy In Love,” features her and hubby Jay-Z continuing their quest for perfecting their love affair. 5 years and one baby later, the sparks are definitely still flying.
Mine. Although this track mimics co-writer Drake’s style to a tee, it’s interesting to hear a female rendition of his emo-isms. The track definitely follows his proven methods, but those methods have also helped escalate his career, and I can’t say that I’m not still bumping NWTS.
Haunted. Yoncé/Partition. Flawless. The tracks that knock that hardest find the singer serving major confidence and stepping into a rappers shoes on a few verses. They also reveal the humanistic, feminist role the star has more openly portrayed, as of late. “Haunted” plays a gorgeous melody against lyrics questioning the harsh truths of the industry and society, while “Flawless” contains the “Bow Down Bitches” chant released in a version earlier this year, and also adds an excerpt of Nigerian-born author and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” speech from the TED 2012 conference — a very bold and respectable move from two very powerful women.
Superpower. No Angel. Along with challenging her own image, the singer took it upon herself to also challenge her vocal delivery, singing in pitches and styles not commonly heard in her music. “Superpower” is a standout, channeling Prince on this Frank Ocean featured, Pharrell co-produced track. “No Angel” challenges her falsetto range, and she pulls it off in style.
Rocket. The most “adult” track on the album, Beyoncé and the tracks co-writer, Miguel, leave little to the imagination in this kiss-and-tell love story. Instantly throws me back to D’Angelo’s “Untiltled (How Does It Feel?)” days — music for only the most grown and sexy.
My overall conclusion? This album is one of her most authentic, challenging, and developed projects to date. Her style signifies her maturity, and alignment with the most powerful ideals of feminism: empowerment, self-worth, achievement, and the breaking down of barriers that have held females back since the beginning of time. Beyoncé stays true to letting us know and proving that girls do run the world, and that women can be just as powerful, as sexually liberated and as strong-minded as men. All of that, while achieving the iTunes fastest selling album in history title with NO PROMO. Do the damn thing, Bey. I’m here for every second of this.