Beyoncé is a beast.
Her fifth self-titled album, released in surprise form this month, is a collection of songs that highlight Beyoncé’s evolution as a woman and artist. It’s her strongest and most cohesive album to date.
What’s most appealing about Beyoncé is that it shows – in the sound and method of release – how she isn’t conforming to mainstream and commercial standards: The songs, while some will find success as singles, play like a unified assembly instead of a loose body of work (that’s a hit at the slew of contemporary pop singers who are singles artists). On the gloomy Haunted, Beyoncé even hints at the album’s future success (or lack thereof): This probably won’t sell, she says. I don’t trust these record labels, I’m torn.
The album marks a powerful time for Beyoncé. While her competitors include acts like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga – singers who consistently release chart-topping songs – Beyoncé jumps back in front of the pack with an album that is both commercially appealing and artistically enticing.
She kicks off the 14-track set in a supreme way with the Sia-penned Pretty Hurts, a mellow R&B number about the sickness behind attempting perfection. It’s matched with a beautiful video – as are the other songs – and features lyrics like, It’s the soul that needs surgery.
Blue, which includes the voice of her daughter Blue Ivy, closes the album and features Beyoncé’s beautiful tone and pitch. And that’s just it – Beyoncé is pitch perfect.
– Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press