Beyoncé’s visual album surprises, awes


No announcement. No promotion. No leak. Not even a single hint was given to Beyoncé’s self-titled album release which was arguably the biggest surprise of 2013. Yet somehow, the record had immediate and record-breaking success, selling 617,000 copies in its first three days and more than 1.5 million copies total as of this month. And as usual, Queen B delivers nothing less than perfection.

In an age of downloading single songs (often illegally), people rarely take the time to appreciate the artistry of a full record. Beyoncé’s idea of a visual album showed how much further the music can go when enhanced with video. The complete project contains 14 songs that are accompanied by 16 music videos, along with one bonus video. The singer also made another bold move, selling the album in one piece exclusively on iTunes for the first week, warding off many other top music sellers such as Target and Amazon. Nevertheless, the restricted vending didn’t deter the instant hit.

If the world wasn’t already surprised enough by the drop of the album itself, Beyoncé fans were even more shocked by the content. Almost half the songs on the album exude sex. Nothing is sugarcoated, and Beyoncé sends the clear message that she is a grown woman and that no topic is off-limits. Marriage and motherhood has transformed the singer into a mature new artist, an unexpected yet very welcome change. While it was originally surprising for younger fans including myself, I have found that despite some raunchy lyrics, the music throughout the record is unique, soulful, raw, real and well-thought out. Beyoncé leaves nothing unrevealed — it is an explicitly true exposure of her feelings.

Every song is connected to create one continuous, complex and complete story. When the whole visual album is watched in its entirety, you receive the full impact as the stories flow and unfold before your eyes. The wide range of directors makes each video distinct and fresh. Beyoncé brings her visions to life in various locations spanning from her hometown roller skating rink in Houston to a small seaside town in Brazil.

One of the best tracks on the album is “Drunk In Love,” which features her hubby Jay-Z rapping along to an infectious beat. The song is a harder-hitting progression of their first smash hit together “Crazy In Love,” and is already on the path to similar success. “***Flawless” holds Beyoncé’s woman-power mantra and contains parts of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s “We should all be feminists” speech laced throughout the confident song. “Pretty Hurts” sends a powerful message about the image our society gives women and every girl will be able to relate. Overall, each track and video hold individual ideas that will not leave you bored.

Listeners and viewers alike are guaranteed to find something intriguing in Beyoncé and will want to come back for more. You will be reminded that there is no other musician who could pull this off, and pull it off flawlessly. It’s safe to say this album will forever remain famed in music history.