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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, April 20, 2014

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Beyoncé's surprise, self-titled album covers love, sex and family.
Beyoncé's surprise, self-titled album covers love, sex and family. (Photo: beyonce.com)

Beyoncé's surprise album hits a high note

We all know her from Destiny’s Child, and have followed her solo career ever since. She is the fabulous, the unstoppable Beyoncé Knowles.

Hits like "Single Ladies," "Irreplaceable," "Diva", and "Halo" helped rocket her career to the limelight, and her remarkable talents have kept her there ever since.

Her brand new, surprise self-titled album is sure to follow suit. It is complete with dirty, intense lyrics and mesmerizing sounds, turning almost anyone into a Beyoncé fan. Even those who are more judgmental of the singing sensation will have to get in on the action. There’s something for everyone.

1. "Pretty Hurts" – "What would be your aspiration in life?" "My aspiration in life would be ... to be happy," These are the opening sound bytes from the first moments of the song. Beyoncé continues by talking about perfection in the eyes of the country as a whole. "Perfection is a disease of our nation." The beat is slow and intense, which gets the listener grooving, whether they’re at their desk at work or hanging out at home. "It’s the soul that needs the surgery," she sings, commenting on how the nation is obsessed with perfection, getting skinny and changing what one deems as "imperfections." The song cliches and showcases Beyoncé’s voice nicely. It’s a great intro to her album and does a great job of making a statement about current pop culture.

2. "Haunted" – The bass begins the song after a sound byte of young Beyoncé accepting an award. The title is appropriate because the music is so haunting. It’s almost creepy, but stays on the border between creepy and sensual. There is another hint at perfection in this song. "It’s what you do, it’s what you see. If I’m haunting you, you must be haunting me." The beat remains relaxed, but changes a couple times through the song, which keeps the listener’s attention easily. The lyrics, although hard to understand at times, hold the song up as well. "It’s where we go, it’s where we’ll be. I know if i’m on to you, you must be on to me." All of the elements in this song match, to put it simply, and make it another hit.

3. "Drunk In Love" (featuring Jay-Z) – The power couple does well in this duet. Beyoncé and Jay-Z collaborate nicely, combining their contrasting sounds and styles with a deep beat that gives the song a smooth flow. The lyrics are sexy and dirty at times, which make the song even more fun to listen to. "I’ve been drinking, I get filthy when that liquor gets into me ... Why can’t I keep my fingers off it, baby?" It’s all about passion in the dirtiest way – and feeling sexy.

4. "Blow" – "I love your face, you love the taste. That sugar babe, it melts away." This song is blatantly and exceedingly sexual. Don’t be mad, though, it’s tastefully done. Sexual innuendos and body parts being referred to as "pink skittles" are only part of the story with this song. The lyrics are raunchy and fun, enough to surprise anyone. The beat is reminiscent of Michael Jackson, which pairs perfectly with the lyrics. It’s an irresistible beat and lyrics that will make anyone blush. Another sexy sound from Beyoncé.

5. "No Angel" – A slow, sexy beat begins this song and flows through out the rest of it. Beyoncé sings about not being perfect and reminding the person she is with that they aren’t perfect either. "I know I drive you crazy, but would you rather that I be a machine who doesn’t notice when you’re late or when you’re lying? I love you even more than who I thought you were before." Not that she’s calling out her lover, but Beyoncé sings about loving each other’s imperfections and about love growing even deeper because of the real person she has come to know.

6. "Partition" – "Swag" is a one-word way to explain how this song goes. It’s cocky and full of self-confidence. "See me up in the club with 50-leven girls, posted in the back, got my bangs and my grill... Every girl in here got to look me up and down." The listener is absorbed into the ocean of confidence and attitude that Beyoncé dishes out, and ultimately takes away a little piece of confidence after the song is over. It’s about being sexy and knowing you can get whoever you want.

7. "Jealous" – You know that feeling you get when your jealousy is getting the better of you? Beyoncé brings those feelings to life with this song, talking about the multiple emotions that hit you when you are upset and at a loss for words. "Now you got me yelling, it’s just because I’m jealous." The slow beat and the emotional lyrics are another great combination of sound, and gets the listener into the actual meaning of the song. The beat is good, but takes a back seat to the actual message.

8. "Rocket" – Beyoncé takes the listener on the sexual ride of a lifetime. The interactions between lovers are described with sexy, smooth lyrics that do not leave much to the imagination. "I do it like it’s my profession, I gotta make a confession, I’m proud of all this bass, Lemme put it in your face." The beat is slow and gets the listener into the feeling of the song. It’s easy to get lost in the lyrics because you want to know each thing Beyoncé is saying. This song is constructed to make everyone who listens to it feel sexy.

9. "Mine" (featuring Drake) – Taking a turn and going back to her vulnerable side, Beyoncé sings about being insecure about where her relationship is going, worrying about a baby and wanting to make things work. "Stop making a big deal about the little things, ‘cuz I got big deals and I got little things," She tries to relax but at the same time she wants to get carried away and be a little crazy. Drake’s contribution is good and adds to the almost mournful sound of the song. It’s an easy listen, but maintains the same low key energy through out.

10. "XO" – Beyoncé expresses her love for her man with powerful lyrics and a laid-back beat. She exposes her softer side and what she wants as the song progresses. Lyrics like "In the darkest night I’ll search through the crowd, your face is all I see, I’ll give you everything," are just an example of how she expresses her love. The echo adds a nice finishing touch that adds even more emotional elements.

11. "Flawless" (featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) – This song is a call to action for the female fans. There is a sound byte that talks about how women are taught to see each other as competitors for the attention of men, among other things. Beyoncé sings about looking good and feeling good, and empowers women with her lyrics that promote being more than what meets the eye. This is a great song for anyone looking for boost their mood.

12. "Superpower" (featuring Frank Ocean) – The song is slow and full of references to Beyoncé’s life outside of music. She talks about her fans, as well as her husband and how all the tough love in the world made her who she is, and that because of the tough love, she was able to keep getting stronger as her career continued. The song as a whole is a little boring, and the message is a little lost because the beat doesn’t go anywhere.

13. "Heaven" – It is rumored that this song is a tribute to the child Beyoncé lost because of a miscarriage, but these are just speculations. The song is powerful in both piano notes and Beyoncé’s outstanding vocals. "Heaven couldn’t wait for you, so go on go home." The lyrics are simple but are driven entirely by Beyoncé’s voice, and the audience is reminded of hard times in their life and how they moved past it. It’s a beautiful song that portrays raw emotion from the star, and gives the audience a peek into her feelings.

14. "Blue" (featuring Blue Ivy) – This "duet" is surprisingly good. Most fans will be led to think that this was a publicity stunt, but the lyrics describe Beyoncé’s love for her family and her daughter. It’s easy to hear that she is pouring her all into this song for her daughter. "Each day I feel so blessed to be looking at you, cause when you open your eyes, I feel alive." The "duet" part is when Blue Ivy’s laugh is heard close to the end of the song. The song is pure joy and gratitude for the blessings that come into one’s life. A nice end to a surprise album.

Beyoncé’s surprise, self-titled album is already a huge success. The album covers love, sex and family, something everyone can relate to. Its dirty lyrics, great beats and star collaborators make it an album that will be hard to miss. Beyoncé has done it again, producing something unique and completely her. The album is yet another piece of art that will please all of her fans.

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