Beyoncé's New Self-Titled LP Is The Feminist's Album Of 2013

beyoncereview01Photo: Courtesy of Beyoncé/Columbia Records.
Alright, not to toot our own horns here, but we kind of predicted Beyoncé would go rogue and drop an album before the year was out. What we could never have predicted was the sheer size of the wrecking ball she slammed into the industry. No promotion, no single release weeks, nothing; she must've been sitting at home with Blue, thinking "tonight's the night," hit some approval button, and watched as the Internet exploded (or as one clever Facebook user put it, "exployoncé'd") before her. Jay probably nodded, whispered a sweet "yes, baby," before dozing off while the world tried to collect itself.
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BEYONCÉ combines the raw honesty of 4 with I Am...Sasha Fierce's bold as love, I-don't-care-if-anyone-sees attitude. Speaking of Sasha Fierce, she called up Beyoncé's new ego, Yoncé, and asked why she had to go and steal her light. Anyway, Bey has concocted a new sound that's different enough to be progressive, but comfortable enough to let her audience know that she's still the queen they've come to dub her. It's an album of femininity, an album of womanhood. BEYONCÉ will rock you, uplift you, and bring the fierce, sexually empowered being that lives inside of you out.
beyoncereview03Photo: Courtesy of Beyoncé/Columbia Records.
In all honesty, there isn't a big standout Beyoncé track here. This is, according to her Facebook page, part one of what's presumably a two-part album series. (Perhaps "Standing On The Sun" will crop up then.) Part one, part two, whatever, though; Bey has never sounded more empowered and in control. She is, for the first time, openly expressing her sexuality ("Partition") and the trials she's been through ("Heaven"). Her tracks about Jay teeter into the TMI-territory, but it doesn't phase the listener because her producers have polished every track so well.
It's her honesty about infidelity ("Jealous"), motherhood ("Blue"), and casual cunnilingus ("Rocket") that separates this album from the other pop albums that came out this year. It's a fully formed project — music videos, art, and all. Her confidence in the work is endearing and makes up for the lack of "Single Ladies" tracks. Beyoncé hasn't reinvented herself; she's grown into herself, and her confidence pours out of each song. The videos make it contagious.
beyoncereview02Photo: Courtesy of Beyoncé/Columbia Records.
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BEYONCÉ is, from beginning to end, the woman's album. It's the "Hey, I gave birth and I'm still as hot — if not hotter — than ever" album. She delivered a pop-culture rapture, and we are all the chosen ones. We survived and are surviving; dancing, twirling, and holding ourselves a little bit stronger than before because this album has that effect.
Let's be real: It's going to be a while before we stop freaking out over this. Bey skirted around the entire threat of leaks, somehow got a bajillion civilians to sell their souls and not speak a word about the new music, and single-handedly ruined everyone's year-end roundups. Oh, you thought so-and-so had the best album of the year? Think again, check yourself, and reassess because the sheer audacity of releasing an album out of the blue (ivy) is unprecedented. Also, factor in the fact that it's absolutely fabulous, and, well, consider the game slayed.
The "Self Titled" project will continue sometime in 2014. Until then, do yourself a solid, participate in some history, and bow down.

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