Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Beyoncé - BEYONCÉ

It was a morning like any other. Taking a brief look at Facebook while I was getting ready for work...BAM. The top post was a friend of mine screaming that the new Beyoncé album had been released earlier that same morning. After almost a year of teasing, leaked tracks, a tour and a Superbowl performance, it was finally here. All 14 tracks became available at once, accompanied with seventeen, SEVENTEEN music videos from the artist exclusively released on iTunes. 

Recorded in secret with the bulk of the studio sessions taking place in The Hamptons, the album was crafted alongside Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams and the soon to be known worldwide, Boots among others. With only a few key names in Bey's council aware of the movement, as well as a few iTunes execs, the release date for BEYONCÉ was only finalised a week before it's initial send off.

The album contains Beyoncé's brand of picture painting ballads ('Pretty Hurts', 'Heaven', 'XO' and 'Blue') while also containing more R&B and Hip-Hop sounds than her previous efforts. It's easy to hear the sounds of Kendrick Lamar in her vocal delivery on 'Haunted' as well as the downtrodden minimalism of Drake and Noah "40" Shebib.

What's new is the fact that she's taking a page out of the filthy books written by Madonna and Rihanna; leaving little to the imagination in both the lyrical, and the video content. 'Partition', 'Rocket' and 'Blow' are busting with innuendos ("Reach into the bottom of my fountain, I wanna play in your deep" from Rocket for example) which move her from the PG-ish middle row we're used to seeing her in, and onto a much higher magazine shelf out of reach for the younger ones. Whether she's seducing husband Jay-Z (obviously),  frolicking about alone in the sheets, or milling around the back streets of Paris with models Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls, she's letting it all hang out. 

The videos do often seem flawless. Captured effortlessly in Rio, Houston, Paris, New York, Sydney and Houston again, Beyoncé travels the world with Solange, Kelly, Jay, Michelle, Pharrell and baby Blue in tow. The star gives us flashbacks to her childhood hustle, in 'Grown Woman' and '***Flawless' which seem strangely juxtaposed to those more...salacious moments. The whole thing is almost a non-linear biopic from the Texas natives origin, to where she sees herself now.

The line "All these record labels' boring" from Ghost/Haunted feels like the spirit behind BEYONCÉ's whole concept. In fact, Beyoncé (the artist and the album) may change the way record labels market and distribute music from now on. Who knows. But what we definitely do know too well from the constant criticism of her and her peers, is that you can't catch a break as a female artist. You're either too sexy or not sexy enough, too plain or too extroverted. What Beyoncé's figured out is that you're gonna be objectified no matter what you do, and whether you like it or not. So you might as well go ahead and do it yourself. 


Key Tracks: ***Flawless, Drunk In Love, Rocket

Key Videos: Grown Woman, Yoncé 

No comments:

Post a Comment