The Reviews Are In: Beyoncé’s Surprise New Album
Beyoncé’s fifth, self-titled, album is definitely the biggest and long-awaited surprise of 2013 – Queen Bey nearly shut down the internet and iTunes simultaneously. The new album currently sits pretty at No. 1 in over 100 countries, generated 1.2 million tweets in the first 12 hours of its release, and according to Billboard has sold 617,213 albums in the U.S. alone; totaling an unprecedented 828, 773 albums sold worldwide in the first week. This officially makes Queen Bey’s fifth effort, the fastest selling album even on the iTunes store.
The visual LP which was crafted over the past year, includes 14 amazing songs featuring the brightest stars in music today (Jay-Z, Miguel, Drake, Justin T.). And while every Beyoncé fan on the planet is trying to recoup from absolute shock, rest assured the critics feel the exact same about the project as the beyhive. Read some of the glowing reviews by the biggest music outlets below:
Entertainment Weekly: This album reveals plenty of what’s in that head of hers. One of the most beautiful, painstakingly constructed women in the world singing ‘Pretty Hurts’? … Here more than ever Bey indulges clashing impulses—between strength and escape, megapop and fresh sounds, big messages and resonant lyrics. A-
Rolling Stone: The vibe on BEYONCÉ is moodily futuristic R&B, strongest when it goes for full-grown electro soul with an artsy boho edge. “Blow,” the best track here, evokes Janet Jackson circa The Velvet Rope, a song about oral sex that has an air of melancholy in the chilly neo-disco groove. There’s a similar mood in her excellent Drake duet “Mine.” 3.5/5
The New York Times: Beyoncé is flawless so no one else has to be. That’s the theme of her superb fifth studio album,BEYONCÉ, which arrives as a feat of both music and promotion. Its songs are steamy and sleek, full of erotic exploits and sultry vocals; every so often, for variety, they turn vulnerable, compassionate or pro-feminist.
USA Today: In none of these songs or visual sequences does Beyoncé coarsely exploit her celebrity. Rather, in keeping with her penchant for discretion, she reveals herself, and her loved ones, in controlled doses. The sensuality is distinctly, intentionally gritty, but never crass.
Los Angeles Times: Songs like the woozy “Mine” and the spooky, almost perversely stripped-down “Partition” reflect her determination, rare among superstars, to keep pushing creatively. 3/4
New York Daily News: The R&B warrior queen gives her music a soft new focus. In song after song, she drapes herself over the music with an insinuating sensuality. The beats, too, have a hazier texture, and proceed at a slower pace, the better to let the music last longer. ⅘
Newsday: BEYONCÉ is the third album since B took total responsibility for her work, and it sounds like she now has the hang of it. Throughout the album, she pushes the envelope of what pop and hip-hop expect from their divas, cowriting every song. Everything on BEYONCÉ is under meticulous control—lyrically, musically, and thematically.
PEOPLE: BEYONCÉ finds Queen B exploring new sonic—and surprisingly sexual—territory with her most adventurous music yet. 3.5/4
Heeds Favorite Tracks: “Drunk in Love,” “Rocket,” “XO,” “Mine,” “Haunted” – ok so basically the entire album.
Bonus: Check out this clip of Beyoncé performing new song “XO” for the very first time during the Chicago stop of her Mrs.Carter World Tour
Photo courtesy of beyonce.com