Beyoncé’s highly anticipated third studio album I Am…Sasha Fierce hits stores and online retailers next Tuesday. Does it live up to the hype? Find out what the critics are saying…
Entertainment Weekly: On Beyoncé, there are some lovely ballads, including ”Disappear,” with its sweet guitar-picking and delicate harmonies, and the soaring ”Halo” and ”Ave Maria” … The collection might have been better served had she edited it down to one disc, rather than belabor what ultimately seems like a marketing gimmick. B+
Rolling Stone: But the Sasha disc boasts Beyoncé’s most adventurous music yet: She rides frothy techno on “Radio,” turns out modal-sounding hooks over 808 bass on “Diva,” and juices the eerie, Nine Inch Nails-style beats of “Video Phone” with lines like “Press ‘record’ and I’ll let you film me.” 3.5 out of 5
Los Angeles Times: As a vocalist, Beyoncé seems more comfortable in Sasha’s stilettos. Her performances on those cuts feel unforced and fun, like she’s thinking on her feet. Stretching for deep meaning on the Beyoncé ballads, she risks sounding ponderous—communicating thoughtfulness weighs her down.
The Guardian (U.K.): Elsewhere, though, they’ve come up with stuff such as “Halo,” a pallid rewrite of Rihanna’s “Umbrella”—same icy synths, same drivetime rock dynamic, same repetitive chorus—which certainly raises some questions: is this any way for the queen of R&B to be carrying on? 3 out of 5
New York Magazine: The more-subdued first disc, for which B.’s less outrageous side was responsible, really isn’t bad (we like “Disappear” and “Halo,” especially), but who listens to Beyoncé for the ballads? NOBODY.
New York Daily News: The loosening of Beyoncé’s melodic structures allows her to circumvent the constricted, and rhythm-driven, shouts of her earlier work to access new parts of her range. She snakes up the crescendo of “Satellites” with fresh grace, and embraces operatic flourishes in “Ave Maria” with heavenly élan. 4 out of 5
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Halo,” “Radio,” “Smash Into You,” “Ego”