By Camyle Cryderman
Since launching into fame with her group Destiny’s Child in 1997, Beyoncé has yet to leave the public eye. As her albums continue to hit record chart highs, and her music is praised for its empowering messages, she is increasingly adored after each release. With the recent drop of her fifth studio album that carries her own name “Beyoncé,” she has done it again.
After unexpectedly releasing the album to iTunes with no prior announcement on Dec. 13, “Beyoncé” immediately debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Reaching one million copies sold in six days and becoming the best-selling debut week for a female artist in 2013, this album is definitely Beyoncé’s best to date. The 14 tracks on this album not only promote her common message of self-empowerment, but begin to introduce more mature topics. Touching on aspects of depression and insecurities, Beyoncé incorporates R&B music with free flowing lyrics to merge both sides of life’s joys and pains.
“Pretty Hurts,” one of the more emotive tracks on the album, focuses on the constant pressure society puts on people to look perfect. Beyoncé does not beat around the bush in this song, as she outright states “Vogue says, ‘Thinner is better’”, and “perfection is a disease of a nation.” Her straight-forward message gets her point across strongly, that society’s perfect views are flawed, and shows just how wide spread of an issue body image is. Opposing track, “XO” has more of a classic Beyoncé feel. This playful song emotes the true bliss surrounding love and tells listeners to simply show their feelings and just go for it. Lyrics “You better kiss me, before our time has run out,” shows Beyoncé’s desire for people to show their feelings for someone while they can. While opening line, “Your love is bright as ever, even in the shadows,” prepares the listener for a song filled with a truly joyous and loving message.
Bearing a softer presence, and songs with deeper subjects, Beyoncé’s new album is certainly different, but one to be respected. Connecting with listeners as she comments on relatable issues and intimate moments, Beyoncé has most definitely proven herself once again. For diehard fans and casual listeners alike, “Beyoncé” is a must hear for all, and definitely one of her best yet.