Only Beyoncé could drop an album with no promotion, single, pre orders or even a whisper and it still go number one in matter of minutes. The self titled album appeared on ITunes before an official announcement came from the singer announcing the visual album. The album offers 14 songs and 17 music videos that represent the album as a visual masterpiece. This is Beyoncés most diverse piece of work to date where we hear her taking on a raunchier sound. ‘Rocket’ starts off with the line “Let me sit this ass on you” while ‘Blow’ shocks with the lyrics “Can you eat my skittles, it’s the sweetest in the middle”. This is definitely a side of Beyoncé we haven’t heard in the past and its showing that she’s growing as an artist and continually reinventing herself. The albums mood is also darker with RNB being a main musical influence overshadowing the pop sound added with a lot more expletives. Guest features on the album include Frank Ocean, Drake, Jay-Z, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as well a surprising collaboration with her 18 month old daughter Blue Ivy. There are however empowering tracks like ‘Pretty Hurts’ which will no doubt become another Beyoncé anthem along with fun pop track ‘XO’ which is already getting radio airplay. ‘Heaven’ is a hauntingly beautiful song that will connect with anyone who has lost someone close to them. However tracks like ‘Mine’ and ‘Superpower’ just fail to connect the way that the others do. ‘Flawless’ is the most upbeat track on the album with really heavy synths and a RNB beat accompanied with lyrics like “This is my shit, bow down bitches”.
Because the album is meant to be a visual record there are a lot of audio snippets from videos incorporated into the tracks which makes it quite unique. The music videos for this album are a must watch with a video for every track instilling so much creativity and bringing these songs to life. Highlights from this album include ‘Pretty Hurts’, ‘Blow’, ‘XO’, ‘Jealous’, ‘Flawless’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Haunted’. This is easily Beyoncés’ best album to date with an incredible collection of material that you can really call a piece of art. Some songs do take a few listens to really appreciate this new sound but if you’ve previously been a fan of Beyoncé you’re not going to be disappointed. I can safely say this was in my opinion the best album of 2013.