Well what a surprise this is!
After spending most of 2013 gaining the title of ‘Queen of Snippets’ by many of her own fans with her constant release of teaser singles and preview music videos while at the same time neither confirming of denying the fruition of a 5th studio album from the singer, Beyonce only went and released her fifth studio album over night via iTunes.
After her Superbowl performance in February everyone was sure she would release the lead single for her fifth studio album but time passed and there was no lead single. Then her deal with Pepsi lead people to believe a new lead single was on its way. We heard a snippet of her song ‘Grown Woman’ but after that nothing… And then her deal with H&M featured another new song from Beyonce titled ‘Standing On The Sun’ and everyone once again expected a new single from the superstar.. But once again things went silent.
Beyonce even went on her ‘Mrs Carter’ world tour and performed the two aforementioned songs for her fans but there was still no new single. She reunited with Kelly and Michelle of Destiny’s Child for the song ‘Nuclear’.. but still no music from the woman herself!
Even more time passed and then Beyonce led her vocals for a cover of ‘Back To Black’ by Amy Winehouse for the Great Gatsby soundtrack in the summer but still no word of a new single or album. She was then heavily featured on her husband JayZ’s recent album ‘Magna Carter, Holy Grail’ and by this point much of the general public accepted the fact that there was no fifth album in the pipeline. And the title of ‘Queen of Snippets’ rang even more true.
It seemed ridiculous considering the magnitude of exposure Beyonce has had since the start of the new year you would think all these performances, features and endorsements were working towards her new album right? And not just her having so much spare time on her hands that she just wanted to put her name on all these projects for the fun of it.
And after this past week when the nation let out an even deeper sigh of frustration when Beyonce confirmed she was coming back to the UK for another stint of her Mrs Carter Tour with still no new music in the foreseeable future, it seemed likely that 2013 would leave us with no new body of working from Beyonce.
Until this morning.
I wake up and find that Beyonce released her fifth studio album secretly over night via iTunes only and the self titled album features 14 new songs with 17 accompanying music videos.
EXCUSE ME?!?! WHAT?!
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have my reservations about Beyonce. She is a great singer and great dancer but has never really brought anything new or exciting to music in my opinion. Her whole ‘I am great and I know it’ complex always irked me. And her fan base known as the ‘BeyHive’ are the most delusional and hyper sensitive fan base I have ever seen.
But credit where credit is due because Beyonce literally turned the industry upside down and released her new album with zero promotion or marketing knowing very well that her name will speak for itself. And by the looks of the meltdown the Internet has suffered today it is fair to say Beyonce’s name is a lot more powerful than even I first thought.
Remember when Kanye West said he was releasing ‘Yeezus’ with no promotion to marketing campaign? Well what a lot fail to realise is that in itself was part of a huge marketing campaign to help sell the album. The difference here with Beyonce is that it literally came out of no where. There were no rumours or teasers. She happily uploaded her album onto the Internet and sat back and let the world go in a frenzy.
And the best thing about it was that this album didn’t come with any hype or idea of direction, features, theme and above all it didn’t come with any sweeping statement about what to expect from the album. We weren’t promised her most personal album (Britney Spears), we weren’t told it would be the album of the millennium (Lady GaGa) and we didn’t get told that she would be moving to a more darker, mature sound which would shock the world (Katy Perry).
We were given the music and that is it.
Its this kind of excitement in music that I haven’t seen since the early days of Mariah/Whitney/Michael where they would drop new music out of nowhere and the world was left to eat it up. So kudos to Beyonce for that, her and her team really brought back the excitement the game was really lacking.
But now the question is whether the music is any good or not? I’ve spent the best part of today listening to the album constantly and it would be hard to give a proper review of an album thats less than 24 hours old.
Standout tracks for me are ‘Partition’ (OMG THIS SONG IS DIRRRRRTY AND MAKES ME WANT TO BUST A WHINE REGARDLESS OF WHO IS WATCHING) and ‘Drunk on Love’. The sound of the album is very much a fusion of Yeezus and Magna Carter, Holy Grail and you can really see those influences in the production of the album. The album has a more darker, adult feel than her previous offerings have had. There isn’t a clear commercial crossover song on this album which I personally love because it tells me that Beyonce made this album purely for the music and not for the charts.
Right now is really exciting because this is just the beginning for this new era in Beyonce’s career and for the first time it seems like she has done what she wants to do. She’s scrapped the conventional means of releasing an album and knows we as music buyers digest music a lot differently now.
With 2014 only weeks away its going to be really interesting to see what else Beyonce has under her sleeve. This album release has proved the level of star power she had based simply on her name. Not everyone can do what Beyonce has done today. So you really have to believe you are the shit to pull a stunt like this. So when she actually puts the work in next year, Lord only knows what is going to happen.