OH SHIT SON.
A personal request from
HERE GO HELL COME!
Beyoncé [Audio Only]Artist:
So late in 2013 it's practically 2014 fodder
For whatever reason, Beyoncé is a superstar. Her parents bred her that way. Destiny's Child was nothing more than the entire Knowles clan dressing up their oldest and her friends. Or, at the very least a revolving door of girls who weren't Beyoncé. [Which makes me wonder why Solange was snubbed in the group's lineup [I mean let's REALLY make it a family affair] and if that had anything to do with her indie-ness in the music industry to show that Younger Sis can too!]
In fact poke around at any hip hop, r&b, or soul tinged pop album in the early Aughts, and you will find Beyoncé there somewhere. [You will also find Justin Timberlake too but he's another story.]
So with all that experience under her belt, Beyoncé can officially be called a superstar, whether you agree with the VASTNESS of her stardom is another thing, but just like Giselle is a SuperModel, Beyoncé is a SuperStar.
Beyoncé, first and foremost, is a performer. The specificity of this is a huge deal. There are Perfomers. There are Singers. And then there are Studio Singers.
Studio Singers can't and don't translate well on stage. They NEED to be in the Studio because frankly, that's the only place they sound good. And, most importantly, they don't have an entire audience to try to engage with. They aren't very good at that, they'd much rather sing to themselves. Or in some cases, let the speakers sing for them.
Singers are seemless. They sound just as perfect live as they do onstage, and they aren't afraid of their audience. Singers know there's a show to be put on, and they also know that they aren't the types to change hair and makeup, this isn't a Broadway performance. There's musicians and backup singers to help them. Singers are there for the MUSIC and to share the music with their audience.
Performers go the extra mile. For Performers, it's not JUST about the Music. It's about the hair and the makeup and the lights and the dancing and the mellowed intimacy to really engage deeply with the audience so they can catch their breath. Performers know there's a show to be put on and they are the center of the show. They ARE their own Broadway play. So they will sweat for the Broadway sized audience they entertain every night.
And when you have a Broadway sized audience, you need a Broadway sized voice. Beyoncé has a Broadway sized voice. As much as I hate the term "Powerhouse," it's true. Beyoncé has a lot of power in her vocals, and that could hurt a lot. Sometimes these Powerhouses don't know where to go with themselves., so they start out on Max and crank it up to 20. Performers can be over-singers, and the music is lost on nothing but yelling and howling. [See also: Yelly Clarkson.]
More often than not, the faster the song is, the louder the Performer belts it out, and the less enjoyable a song becomes. You have power, we get it. But dammit use it wisely.
Which is why when it comes to Beyoncé, I like her when she's moody and mellow. I want to hear the lyrics. I want to hear the emotion. I want to hear the music. I want to hear and appericate the timbre and tone and sound of her voice. And I don't want to hear the same sentence over and over again. R&B is one of the most beautiful genres of music. It's sad and soulful and emotional and sexy and sassy and most of all it tells a story. And you don't HAVE to be loud. R&B isn't about LOUD. It's not about Performing. It's about Singing. It's Rhythm...and Blues.
Tell me a story. Don't scream it at me.
And that's where the beauty of Beyoncé's self titled album lies.
She's saying something.
For the past two albums Beyoncé's calmed herself down. Maybe it's because she shook her father off as her manager so she can actually make the music she wants to. Maybe she just wants to stop over-singing for radio hits to compete with every other shrieking mess out there. Maybe there's nothing more to it than she's not the teenage wonder that NEEDS that demographic anymore. Maybe it's a combination of all three. What hurts Beyoncé IS Beyoncé. The powers that be have blown her up into SUCH a Mega Super Uper Duper Star that no one can see the forest for the trees anymore. There's too much speculation and controversy surrounding Beyoncé. There's too many things to be proven. There's too many rabid Stans thirsty for blood when someone disagrees about Beyoncé. There's too much Beyoncé even for Beyoncé. And maybe THAT's the difference in the last two albums. Beyoncé's finally being herself come hell or high water. She's a mother. She's a wife. She can be angry. She can be sexy. She can be sad. She can be happy. And she doesn't need anyone's permission anymore. She IS in fact, a Grown Woman, whether or not the collective human race she was told to perform in front of and scrutinizes her every move likes it or not. THIS is the music she is going to turn out. THIS is who she is right now. And if she wants to keep it secret then by all means keep it secret, just so long as it was a secret worth keeping.
And for "Beyoncé" as an album, it was.
Moral of the Story: Continuing in the mellowed out vibe of predecessor '4', 'Beyoncé' weaves a path through moody-dark emotions of adulthood, and rides waves of heaviness and smoothness. Every song is significantly different then the last yet seamlessly flow in to and out of one another making the Self-titled Visual album something very easy to listen to. A bold move by Beyoncé to keep an entire album's worth of music and accompanying music videos to be bolted down for an entire secretive year, let's hope Beyoncé doesn't out-Beyoncé herself with this maneuver. It'd be a shame for such a rich album to fall flat in the long run because the sound doesn't fit into an EBM/EDM world [not that I'm complaining], and attention for new singles may be hard to get when there's no hype in wondering what a new music video for a new single will be; when they already exist.
Un***Flawless: While I find the message inside of "Pretty Hurts," to be a great one, it's hard to take Beyoncé's complaint that "being blonder" equates into being a more beautiful woman seriously, when Beyoncé herself has almost never not been blonde. It's too mixed of a message when in reality it's a message that should be sent out. Every fembot on television has to be the correct shade of golden tan, with the the correct shade of golden blonde hair, or the correct shade of off black hair, either of which has to be poker straight and shiny and cascading down their certain-sized chests all while pouting with the stickiest, glossiest lips imaginable. It's a tragedy that every single woman in any kind of media no matter their background, all look the damn same.
Pretty does in fact Hurt in a lot of different ways.Hov, We Need to Talk:
"Drunk In Love" is the adult version of "Crazy In Love" we hadn't known we had been waiting for. Except for its Rihanna-esque vibe which could be confusing at first [it goes away the more you listen to it] it's almost better than "Crazy In Love."
Except for that damn Ike Turner line...Jay, the HELL were you thinking? Yoncé All On His Mouth Like...What?:
So people were butthurt over a non-single when Beyoncé told Bitches to Bow [which is now the song "***Flawless"], but no one's side eyeing her for the use of the N word?
Because I'm going to be honest, her repeatedly dropping the N word startled me more than her saying the B word.
Priorities indeed.Houston, We Have a Problem:
There are two sets of people in this world. People born before 1986, and people born after 1986. I was born in 1988, and therefor The Challenger Disaster rings no bells for me. And let's get real here people, no one gets past America's Industrial Age in History class because by the time you reach it, you don't have to take it any more. Which is too bad.
So saying, the six second clip in the beginning of "XO" could've been stock for all I would've known, and I'm sure everyone else on my end of 1986 would agree.
But as it stands the clip was from a disaster that ended in the loss of 7 astronauts which got more attention than anything else after the release of the album.
Was it in Bad Taste? That depends on your personality. "XO" is a beautiful song and the clip was so non-specific it's hard to grasp anger towards it. Especially when A: it didn't occur in your own lifetime, and B: the song itself isn't even derogatory towards anything. What would've been in bad taste would've been the sound of explosions and chaos.
Was it unnecessary? Yes. And that's probably where the retaliation against it comes from. The footage didn't really need to be used, and the excuse was flimsy at best calling it a tribute, when Beyoncé would've been young herself [a tender age of five in fact] and not fully capable of grasping what's going on. So to pick out The Challenger Disaster out of ANY other tragedy in your own conscious lifetime as a tribute is a flimsy excuse at best, even if the song is very beautiful and one of my favorites on the album.
So while the album is spattered with different audio clips that help enhance the vibe of the album and not weigh it down, this one was probably better left on the studio floor. Best Old Skool Shout out:
"Jealous"'s reference back to "Freak'um Dress."
Worst Old Skool Shout out:
"Rocket"'s old skool Motown 70's feel. Not that Beyoncé didn't pull off the retro vibe perfectly, because she did. [This includes "Blow".] That's the problem. Growing up with my dad's Motown /70's/80's R&B mixtapes I would love all of them, except for the overly sensual ones. The songs that were SO sensual you couldn't even SING them, you TALKED them. Or mewled them. And they made me anxious as shit. And Beyoncé brought that vibe into the modern era a little TOO well for my personal preference. Obligatory Vagina Euphamism:
I guess it's better than the played out "Cake." Although I don't know how much sweeter a Skittle is in the Middle.
Chewy on the other hand...Obligatory Moms Are People Too:
Pretty dirty for a Beyoncé record, a good chunk of the songs are where and how Beyoncé got in the family way. It seems like new moms need to prove a point that they are still sexy even though a baby happened. But at least Beyoncé did a better job of it than Christina Aguilera who didn't want her son to feel ashamed of her past sluttiness only to return to form after the Back to Basics Vintage Album. So props to Beyoncé for sticking to her guns and just continuing to be herself while makign us all bop along in the process.Obligatory Parent-Child Song:
Even though superstar moms are indeed MILFs, they ARE still moms. And where there are newborns there are newborn moms. And when a newborn mom is a singer, you have to sing about your child to let the world rejoice in your utter newborn joy as a newborn mom. And that song is a beautiful, touching, permanent tribute the newborn can have when they aren't so newborn anymore. However Parent-Child songs can only go in one of two directions: it's either relatable to a mass audience, or it's not. And while parenthood is a wonderful thing to be celebrated, sometimes a parents' ode to their blessed bundle from above should be left in the Nursery. Now doubt other parents will understand. But for us non-parents. We don't. And all we hear is a long rant of how great YOUR child is.
Fortunately for all of us, Beyoncé's ode to her daughter Blue Ivy, isn't a pukish lavish ode to the wonderful godly child her and Jay-Z created. Instead it's a quiet love song that can fit into anyone's life no matter who it is they love.
But, lest we forget, it IS a parent-child song, and a little cameo from Blue at the end was a sweet little nod at this. And while adding a baby [or kids] in a song is a dodgy move at best, it IS a parent-child song, and having little Blue end the song was a gentle and sweet way to end an album full of brooding moodiness.
Facebook Review: Dear Beyoncé, I don't know what happened between albums 1-3 and 4-5 to make the latter two so dark and mellow, but quite frankly I don't give a damn. I'm a fan of moody Beyoncé whether or not 4 & 5 do well commercially. Since, frankly, both albums pack an audible punch just by staying mellow and smokey. When it comes to the studio, keep those power vocals on the back burner because that's where the magic lies; not screeching for radio attention. PS. As far as I'm concerned Beyoncé deserves "superstar" status for having the only song that features Drake where he ISN'T monotone. Bow Bitches! PPS: The Ike Turner reference though? Hov, we need to talk. PPPS: Wait, so everyone was mad when Beyoncé told Bitches to Bow Down, but no one batted an eye when she dropped the N word? Dear World, Priorities.
I hope this was worth the wait.