Review: Beyoncé – Let Me Hear You Say 'Hey Ms. Carter!'

Beyoncé’s fifth album contains a lot of filth, a bit of grace and a touch of hypocrisy

Songs about oral sex – check.

Duet with Drake/Jay-Z – check.

Girls dancing around in not much more than their underwear – check.

No, Rihanna isn’t on tour again. I’m actually referring to the latest material from the Queen herself, Beyonce.

Beyonce tricked the entire world on December 13th 2013, by releasing her brand new album straight to iTunes with no warning whatsoever. Queen Bey’s self-titled fifth studio album is not just any ordinary album either; the fourteen tracks come complete with seventeen videos. With rumours of set backs and apparent songs leaking all over the place, it turns out Beyonce was pulling the wool over all our eyes, dropping the album on iTunes at midnight. It might be the greatest musical stunt of 2013, slightly pipping Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke to the title. iTunes even decided to crash at one point, due to amount of downloads.

So let’s get to it, what’s the album like? Well to sum it up, X-rated. Beyonce has finally gone over to the dark side. The side where Miley and Rihanna frequently writhe about in their underwear, smoking marijuana with strippers. Okay, maybe she’s not exactly that far gone, but she’s on the way.

Let’s go back a few years to the glory days of Destiny’s Child, and remind ourselves of the song ‘Nasty Girl’. Some of the lyrics I remember off the top of my head ‘…nasty put some clothes on, I told ya…don’t walk out the house with out ya clothes on…’ It seems Bey has forgotten this rule, and stepped out in little more than a bra and pants in most of the accompanying videos.

‘Partition’ is probably the one I’m talking about here, the one to listen to, to really get a feel of the message Beyoncé is trying to get across. No actually, I’m completely lying. There is no message. It’s just pure filth. Although having said that, it’s possibly my favourite track on there. Not sure what that says about me, but any song with the line ‘He Monica Lewinski’d all on my gown’ is going to make a few heads turn. ‘Partition’ is split into two videos, one for the title track and another for the opening part, ‘Yonce’.

‘Drunk In Love’ is a decent song, but I find it hard to get past the Ike/Tina turner reference in Jay-Z’s rap. It’s unnecessary and inappropriate, especially coming from a female role model like Beyoncé. Of course I’m not insinuating she’s promoting domestic violence, but there’s no need to highlight it in the slightest.

‘Blow’ is about, erm, well… why don’t we pretend it’s empowering for women and promotes feminism and stuff? Great.  Good song.

Duet with Drake, ‘Mine’ sounds exactly like it’s supposed to, like a duet with Drake. It’s a bit Rihanna, a bit whiny, a lot Drake. I don’t like Drake; I won’t pretend I do, not even for Beyoncé. Moving on…

The opening track ‘Pretty Hurts’ is a slow-tempo song, with a powerful video to match. In fact, this is probably one of the only tracks on the album that has an air of old Bey about it, attempting to send a positive message to her fans, about how hard it is to maintain an image in the media.

Listening to ‘Heaven’, the best word to describe this track is beautiful. It was written by Bey herself, regarding the baby she lost before having Blue Ivy. And once you know the meaning behind the song, boy does it feel emotional. Little Blue Ivy also makes an appearance on the album, as part of a track named after her, again another beautiful song about family and love.

Finally, I feel like I should give a shout out to my favourite track on the album, ‘Flawless’. It was sort of released a few months ago, apparently it ‘leaked’ online, but was only the first couple of minutes, and was called ‘Bow Down Bitches’, which caused mini-uproar with feminists everywhere. When the full track was actually released via the album, it turns out to be an empowering song, designed for feminists, and features a speech from feminist speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Very clever turn around indeed.

Despite the tone of this review, I should clarify that I love this album. Beyoncé’s previous album ‘4’ didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me, but this certainly will. If Queen B’s intention was to cause a stir and make an impression on her fans, this will not disappoint. There are a few tracks that seem to fade into the background slightly (‘Superpower’, ‘No Angel’, ‘Jealous’, ‘Rocket’, ‘XO’) but this is only because the other tracks are that dominant. I urge everyone out there, who hasn’t already, to get themselves a copy of this album. Because Queen Bey commands it.

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