My procrastination prayers were answered on Thursday night when word spread on social media about Beyoncé's album release. "WAIT- she has a new album?!", I thought to myself as I read the tweets that were blowing up my newsfeed. Scandal had just finished, so I was overwhelmed enough, and then Bey just sent me over the moon. Right when I was depressed that I'd have to wait until February 27th to watch the next episode of this ever-so-addicting show, Beyoncé came to the rescue. I downloaded the album and watched it all day Friday – instead of studying and being productive – and I'm not even mad about it. If I had an obsession with Queen B before, it has multiplied by the hundreds.
Beyoncé is the new self-titled album that came out officially on iTunes this Friday. It was unannounced. There was absolutely no publicity for this album release - nobody knew. Needless to say, it's a Christmas miracle! Well, at least to me it is. For every song on the album, there is a music video that goes along with it. There are even some songs that show up only in music video form, without the audio separate on the album. So in total, that’s 14 songs, 17 videos. What. The. Actual. Eff.
I’ve watched every video at least twice and I've had some time to digest. There are serious messages that Bey is tackling here. The opening track, "Pretty Hurts", is a commentary on the pressures that women, in particular, feel to look perfect in this country. The video shows that it is our culture of beauty pageants and other showcases of idealized body image that force women into this spiral of self-destruction. "Perfection is the disease of a nation" and "it's the soul that need surgery" are lines that particularly stuck out for me. I don't think that other female artists have put this issue into words as eloquently as Beyoncé has, and the visual of the beauty pageant in the music video is absolutely stunning. Another song, "No Angel", displays Beyoncé's Houston community where she grew up – 3rd Ward – which is historically African- American. "Cause you're no angel either, baby" repeats in the chorus, shedding light on what others may think about her community. It's not where you're from, it's who you are, and that's the message that comes across through this video. Another huge sentimental moment that had me tearing up was "Blue", a relatively relaxed music video that features beautiful baby Blue Ivy and her mom hitting the beach in Brazil. Blue's voice overlaps the beat at the end of the track; how can your heart not melt after hearing that?
Although this album has plenty of sentimental and moving songs, Queen B definitely gets sexual, in a big way. I honestly couldn't handle it. It was way too much for me, and I don't even know how boys must feel after watching music videos like "Rocket" or "Drunk In Love". How are you guys able to focus after watching the goddess herself werkin’ it like THAT?! Her body looks absolutely amazing and she dances like no other artist in the game. It's not fair, really.
Beyoncé also gets aggressive in this album, and one song in particular stands out. "Flawless", which I anticipate will soon be the number one track in the country, addresses all the backlash against Beyoncé titling her most recent world tour, "The Mrs. Carter Show". "But don't think I'm just his little wife; don't get it twisted, get it twisted; this is my shit, bow down bitches!" YOU TELL 'EM BEY! So much respect for calling out the haters right here. This moment sent me in a state of panic. I exclaimed "Yesssssssssssss you go Glen Coco!" – and I'm not embarrassed to admit that. She also includes Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk in this track, which is set over the beat in multiple parts. This is a total "girl power" move that honestly couldn't be more perfect. I assume that there will be critics against this track for promoting the female sexuality, but I think that feminism and awareness of your sexuality as a female go hand in hand. This is the song that I want to listen to every day when I get up in the morning and say, "B and I are going to take over the world today."
I could honestly write a 20-page paper on this album alone, but I won't right now. Since everyone is in the midst of finals and this album is enough of a distraction, I will make my final remarks short and sweet. Beyoncé is the absolute baddest in the game and nobody can touch her. Who else has the nerve to take 2013 by the balls and just cause mayhem in the last three weeks of the year by releasing an album without any form of publicity or announcement? NOBODY ELSE. That's who. Not only is her musical style constantly developing and always sounding fresh and innovative, but this album is a visual masterpiece. I have never heard of the concept of a "visual album" until this creation, and it is as flawless as the queen herself. The amount of production hours that went into all of the songs and music videos is insane. Beyoncé made it virtually impossible for anyone to get this album as a leak or as an illegal download. Many who have never ever bought an iTunes album were forced to make that purchase, and I'm sure they didn't care, because it was worth every penny. Honestly, $15.99 for the amount of content included in the album bundle is a steal.
I will be the first to say that this article is extremely biased. I've been a fan of Beyoncé's since I-don't-know-when. We're both Virgos, and our birthdays are two days apart, so I obviously think we're secret soul sisters - but that's beside the point. Biased or not, this album is a visual innovation and extremely appealing to a wide variety of audiences. It has slow songs, upbeat songs, songs with sentiment, songs that make you feel sexy, and everything in between. I can't get enough of it, and I don't know when I'll get over it. I love everything about this album. So yes, Beyoncé, I will bow down. You deserve it girl. Here's to hoping I will be an ounce of the “Grown Woman” that you are.Images courtesy of tumblr.