Whatever you thought about Beyonce in the past no longer matters. She has always shown herself through her music, but there was something so obviously produced about her previous albums. These were made to hit the top charts, to be played on the radio and to fill dance floors. In Beyonce's latest, her soul constantly oozes out of the speakers. Because this record was a surprisebarely anyone knew about it, including her record labelshe had complete freedom to be as vulnerable as she pleased, and she is about as vulnerable as a newborn baby Blue. In fact this record is almost like the rebirth of Beyonce, the wife, the mother, and most of all, the woman.
Beyonce was not made to be number one on the charts, but to mean something more, about women, race, and the industry that the artist herself has had to endure. The 14-track work swings from heartfelt ballads to straight up satirical studies of how she is perceived by the public. Not worrying about the album's potential success and permitting listeners vulnerable access to her self has made it her best album to date.
An important aspect to this album compared to others is the 18 videos to go along with the 14 tracks. Beyonce says that when she is writing songs she sees them as visuals, so for this album it was important to her for fans to see the tracks narrated by the videos, to see them the way she intends for them to be seen.
When the first glimpse of her secret project was released in a clip with roughly half of a yet to be titled song, fans were confused. The chorus featuring the lyrics, "I know when you were little girls / you dreamt of being in my world / don't forget it, don't forget it / respect that bow down bitches." For those who are familiar with Beyonce, they know that she is one of the most humble pop musicians out there today. She respects her fans and after 17 years still gets teary from their applause, so hearing these lyrics out of context really baffled some fans. Once the album was released with the videos it was impossibly clear how ironic she was trying to be with this song titled "***Flawless". The video is completely over the top as she embraces her Houston roots. She shows off an aggressive side; one that we have not seen before, and it is more than refreshing. Of course her overpowering aggression is only to emphasize the irony she is portraying about how people see her, as this all powerful enigma Queen B who knows she's the shit, but this only adds to her strength. She knows the pop star monster she could be today and laughs in its face.
Unlike previous records that were made for the radio, Beyonce is undoubtedly raw. She has laid all of her insecurities and shameful thoughts on the table for everyone to see. Yes, she shows how amazing her life is with her new baby and her husband Jay Z, but peppered throughout are songs that also point to the difficulties of being a woman in general, as well as a woman in the music industry. Tracks that stand out in such a way are "Pretty Hurts", "No Angel", "Jealous", and "Heaven". "Pretty Hurts" and "Heaven" hit hard and deep. "Heaven" is the most touching song on the album as it reflects on one of the hardest moments Beyonce has endured in her life; losing her first baby. It's inspiring how she boldly shares her true feelings with her fans as a method of dealing with this terrible tragedy, and to follow that track is "Blue" which is of course about her two-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy. Beyonce sold 1.3 million copies in its first 17 days, as the risk of her vulnerable rebirth certainly rewarded us all.