Forgive me for being so delayed in writing this rather inevitable post, but I have been caught up in a Beyoncé whirlwind for the past seven days; Watching, re-watching and re-re-watching her 17 new music videos, and listening to her 14 new songs in between.
Yes, the Queen has reaffirmed her position as ultimate-pop-diva-royalty-extraordinaire by dropping an entirely unannounced musical bomb last Friday, to which over a million people have flocked and downloaded worldwide in just under a week – an amazing feat.
It’s clear that Mrs Carter has been hard at work, and Mrs Carter’s ‘people’ have been even harder at work dishing out confidentiality agreements, for however long is anybody’s guess. And so it is time for my hard work as I try and pick my five absolute favourite tracks from Beyoncé’s fifth studio album/visual extravaganza.
“This is for all my grown women out there”/“Can you lick my skittles?”/“Keep me humming, keep me moaning” – The riddle really isn’t that hard to solve, B. This oral sex packed gem of a song has been, and will continue to be, playing on repeat during any party, car journey or Sunday afternoon that I am a part of for the foreseeable future. I love the style of the track, that I can only describe as a futuristic-disco-vibe – very Prince-esque. Blow is, without doubt, my favourite track on the album – forget all the meaningful, feel good ‘classics’ (they come lower down on the list), it’s all about the sex. Bee has always oozed sex appeal, but this song takes it to a whole other level.
“Est-ce que tu aimes le sexe?” Well Yoncé does, and we aren’t going to forget that any time soon. This is possibly the most erotically charged song on the new album, and I love every exhilarating minute of it. With Iggy-style beats that just won’t quit, a brief appearance from the new [Yoncé] alter ego and references to The Big Lewinsky, this really is a winner. Beyoncé’s fabulously honest lyrics “Take all of me/I just wanna be the girl you like”, coupled with her raunchy exploration and openness, is a combination that could only work with a committed and intimate couple. It’s like overhearing the most private of conversations, but instead we get to watch it too.
3. DRUNK IN LOVE
The Queen & her King are no longer merely “Crazy in Love”, they’ve indulged and become completely deliriously “Drunk In Love” with each other. Now I must admit, I probably would peg this track as my third favourite more for the video and my admiration of their intoxication with each other, and less for the lyrical genius and musical prowess, but I’m allowed as Bey is all about the visual this time round. It looks like the most fun that anyone has had on a beach ever in black and white. Beyoncé looks even more phenomenal than ever, breaks out some cracking dance moves and I love that these two still can’t keep their hands off one another.
There’s something innately awesome about Beyoncé in black and white, on a grungy backdrop, getting a bit crazy/viscous over an insane hip-hop beat. Flipping the single ‘Bow Down’ (leaked earlier this year) on its side, and putting the cherry on top of the cake, the track features feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche quoting lines from her 2012 “We Should All Be Feminists speech”; “We raise girls to see each other as competitors/Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing/But for the attention of men/We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” It’s a feast of empowerment and reassurance, reaffirming B’s ability to create feminist anthems (see “Independent Women” and “Run the World”). Remember ladies, we flawless.
5. PRETTY HURTS
I couldn’t finish off my top five without including the album’s opening track; it may be the most straight forward song lyrically, and a most predictable in terms of Beyoncé’s style as of late, but that just serves to confirm its spot in my top five. An inspirational tour-de-force, with Beyoncé telling us that her aspiration in life is simply to be happy; this is an absolute belter – especially whilst drunk and weepy.
For everyone complaining that Beyoncé has massacred her position as ‘role model’ by laying herself bare, quite literally, there’s only one last thing left for me to say:
Bow down bitches.