Beyonce Album

Buy the new Beyonce self-titled album

Information verified correct on December 6th, 2016

Unheard of are the days when superstars dropped a surprise studio album with absolutely no hype or lead up to the release.

Yet that's what Beyonce did - and to huge success. Not only do fans get 14 tracks with the self-titled album, they also get a video for each track, in addition to three bonus videos.

The album has been selling well in Australia and in the US. In fact it's the first number one album Beyonce has had in the land down under.

The move was a stroke of genius, but apart from shaking up the field of music marketing, how do Yonce's tracks stack up?

As with much of her earlier work, Beyonce's latest efforts remind us why she deserves her place in the music industry.

Long term fans will in all probability love this new album, but they might also be a bit surprised. BEYONCE is an album that signals a shift from her previous work. Not in her vocals - which as usual sound as strong as concrete, but in the subject matter.

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Beyonce - BEYONCE from Amazon

Beyonce drops her latest studio album - 14 tracks that will make you want to dance and party.

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BEYONCE is a much more sexual album than what Knowles' has given to the masses before. But rather than feel streaks of embarrassment or alienation from her because of it, listeners will be disarmed by the possibility that motherhood has made Knowles' more comfortable in her own, 32-year-old skin.

At one of the release parties for the album she gave this theory some weight, saying the takeaway for fans was to "own your imperfections and all the things that make you interesting".

And the album does cover some varied ground. Three of the more popular songs - Mine, Drunk in Love and XO couldn't be more different siblings.

XO, co-written by Ryan Tedder and The Dream is an epic and arguably the first track many will come to know this album through. It includes a sample of the NASA Challenger spacecraft disaster at the beginning of the song, which Knowles' drew flak for and features some raw chorus vocals over some interesting electronic music production and an addictive beat.

Mine on the other hand is much more introspective, exposing Knowles' fears and confronting listeners with an image of the star that we're not used to, with lyrics like  "been having conversations about breakups and separations, I'm not feeling like myself since the baby...are we gonna even make it?".

Merge these this with a backing track of beat and synths reminiscent of the earlier work of Toronto-based rapper and singer Drake, who features on the track and you have a song which is like Drake's new work: hard to categorise, but emotional all the same. By the end of the track you'll be firmly lodged in a Drizzy Drake synth-dream.

The final offering in Yonce's more standout offerings - Drunk in Love - is a gritty bass-drenched track with some more playful vocals. It gives her a chance to include a verse from husband Jay-Z and even provides an opportunity for us to hear some of the rap bars she herself has dropped onto the track.

If you want some more interior commentary you should listen to Jealous, which combines equal parts self-encouragement with aforementioned sexuality.

For some more serious female-centric messaging and to hear Beyonce beat down on her haters, Flawless is the track for you. Gone is the love and questioning of self built up in the earlier tracks of the album and in place of it is a clear message presented by Beyonce and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about what it means to be a female, especially one at her level of fame.

To hear Knowles' falsetto and raspier vocal treatment spit out some stream of consciousness material play No Angel. You'll also want to soak up Blue, which as the name suggests is a song penned for her bub Blue Ivy.

BEYONCE isn't just an aural album. It comes with 17 videos for listeners to use as an accompaniment.

The videos range from a lighthearted jaunt through Coney Island in XO, to Knowles taking a midnight dip in the waves of Miami Beach in Drunk in Love. Then there's the almost entirely abstract visual feast of Mine with an appearance from Drake.

It's astounding that an artist can release a video for each track and keep up the quality seen in this album. Honorable mentions go to the controlled chaos of the beauty pageant in Pretty Hurts and the holiday home video in Blue - a fitting tribute to the content of the song.

Album reviews are difficult. One can only ever give a subjective opinion based on the impression an album leaves you with. BEYONCE leaves a sweet ring in your ears and has been the marketing shake up the industry needed. Music fans can be incredibly loyal to their favourite artists and it's time someone with the star power like Beyonce gave them a surprise worth getting excited about.

Matt Corke

Matt is a publisher and editor of personal finance content at finder.com.au. He is committed to genuinely helping consumers find a better deal from their financial institution.

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