By Lauren Barthold | @bylaurenb
12.17.13‘Twas the night before finals and all through the house, not a student was sleeping, not even, well, me. The clock hit midnight and procrastinating, I checked Instagram. One of the first posts on my feed was a video from Queen B herself with the caption, “Surprise!” After watching the montage of brand new videos to the music of also new “Drunk In Love (feat. Jay Z),” my iPhone almost slipped right out of my hands.
I bought all 14 songs, 17 videos, and digital booklet for $15.99 exclusively on iTunes because DUH. It is only available for album purchase until the 20th when the individuals songs and videos will be available, but I was not about to wait until then. I do have to admit I do not like music videos though, so that part didn’t do anything for me. It is kind of like the book being better than the movie type of thing.
It begins on track one with someone asking Beyonce what her aspiration in life is. Her answer? “To be happy.” The song “Pretty Hurts” is about body image and the media brainwashing women into thinking skinny is better. One line says, “It’s the soul that needs surgery.” Get it, girl.
The very hip-hop/rap “Haunted” starts with old audio of Beyonce winning Female Pop Vocalist as a child and her saying, “I would like to thank the judges for picking me, my parents who I love. I love you, Houston.” Once the song began, it instantly reminded me of “Marvin’s Room” which has been done by numerous artists, including Drake who is featured later on the record.
Track three features Beyonce’s husband, Jay Z. 10 years after “Crazy In Love” comes “Drunk In Love” continuing to show that these two are perfect separately, but even more so together. It gets intimate with lines like, “Why can’t I keep my fingers off you baby?” Warning: It only gets more sexual from here.
Four is upbeat and easily the best track on the album titled “Blow”. You figure it out. “No Angel” is very slow and raspy. B’s voice reminds me a lot of Alicia Keys, and frankly I did not like it.
“Partition” begins with Beyonce asking her audience to say, “Hey Mrs. Carter.” Again with the sex! The title comes in at the line, “Driver roll up the partition please, I don’t need you seeing ‘Yonce on her knees.” As a fellow feminist, I did not like the line, “I just wanna be the girl you like, the kinda girl you like,” at first. I mean, come on! That is just not her. However, the bridge is in French. After translating it, I learned it says, “Do you like sex? Sex. I mean physical activity, coitus. You like it? Are you not interested in sex? Men think that feminists hate sex but it’s an exciting and natural activity that women love.” Yes. Here, she is talking to the people who criticize her for being open about her sex life, yet still a feminist icon. Seriously. Could she be any more perfect?
“Jealous” is about, you guessed it, jealousy. There are screams in the background that remind me of “Mercy” by Kanye West. It is just whatever, I always thought that sound was creepy. “Rocket” sounds different than most of the album with an old fashioned sound. Think “Pusher Love” by Justin Timberlake. I told you Drake was featured, and love song “Mine” is track nine. 10 is “XO” which has a very refreshing, enlightening sound.
Behind “Blow”, “***Flawless (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche)” is one of my favorites. At 1:26, there is a speech by the featured feminist writer from Nigeria about why what we are teaching young girls is bad.
“Superpower” features Frank Ocean, and the song is very Frank Ocean-ish. You will like it if you’re a fan of his, you will not if you aren’t. The two last tracks “Heaven” and “Blue (feat. Blue Ivy)” are much more serious. “Heaven” talks about death and how “heaven couldn’t wait for you”. In the final one, we hear B’s daughter, Blue adorably say “Hold onto me,” as well as some other baby talk that is hard to understand.
Overall, I found the album to be a very different sound for her, but still good. Personally, I believe she should continue to do more like “Love On Top” from “4”. Regardless, her dropping it out of absolutely nowhere and focusing on the “visual” part of it only confirmed that Beyonce can do WHATEVER SHE WANTS, and is in fact the queen.