Review Roundup: Beyoncé – ‘BEYONCÉ’

BEYONCÉ

Beyoncé’s fifth self-titled album arrived without warning and is already reaping the rewards. The surprise release, which secretly hit iTunes on Friday, rocketed to No. 1 in 100 countries and generated 1.2 million tweets in its first 12 hours.

On the visual LP, Bey crafts 14 songs and 17 videos with some help from Jay Z, Drake, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, Miguel, Frank Ocean, Blue Ivy, and more.

But the fans weren’t the only ones raving. The critics have also applauded her unprecedented move. The New York Times called the album “superb,” while Entertainment Weekly awarded it an A-.

Read some of the glowing reviews below.

Entertainment Weekly: This album reveals plenty of what’s in that head of hers. One of the most beautiful, painstakingly constructed women in the world singing ‘Pretty Hurts’? … Here more than ever Bey indulges clashing impulses—between strength and escape, megapop and fresh sounds, big messages and resonant lyrics. A-

Rolling Stone: The vibe on BEYONCÉ is moodily futuristic R&B, strongest when it goes for full-grown electro soul with an artsy boho edge. “Blow,” the best track here, evokes Janet Jackson circa The Velvet Rope, a song about oral sex that has an air of melancholy in the chilly neo-disco groove. There’s a similar mood in her excellent Drake duet “Mine.” 3.5/5

The New York Times: Beyoncé is flawless so no one else has to be. That’s the theme of her superb fifth studio album, BEYONCÉ, which arrives as a feat of both music and promotion. Its songs are steamy and sleek, full of erotic exploits and sultry vocals; every so often, for variety, they turn vulnerable, compassionate or pro-feminist.

USA Today: In none of these songs or visual sequences does Beyoncé coarsely exploit her celebrity. Rather, in keeping with her penchant for discretion, she reveals herself, and her loved ones, in controlled doses. The sensuality is distinctly, intentionally gritty, but never crass.

Los Angeles Times: Songs like the woozy “Mine” and the spooky, almost perversely stripped-down “Partition” reflect her determination, rare among superstars, to keep pushing creatively. 3/4

New York Daily News: The R&B warrior queen gives her music a soft new focus. In song after song, she drapes herself over the music with an insinuating sensuality. The beats, too, have a hazier texture, and proceed at a slower pace, the better to let the music last longer. 4/5

Newsday: BEYONCÉ is the third album since B took total responsibility for her work, and it sounds like she now has the hang of it. Throughout the album, she pushes the envelope of what pop and hip-hop expect from their divas, cowriting every song. Everything on BEYONCÉ is under meticulous control—lyrically, musically, and thematically.

PEOPLE: BEYONCÉ finds Queen B exploring new sonic—and surprisingly sexual—territory with her most adventurous music yet. 3.5/4

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Pretty Hurts,” “Drunk in Love,” “XO,” “Mine”



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59 Comments

  1. Justdr

    This y everybody call her QUEEN BEY. Yes Queen.!

    [Reply]

    Oh Reply:

    @Justdr, This album is okay its not her best.

    B’Day>Dangerously in Love>Beyoncé>I Am…>4

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  2. Sushi

    Ahhhhh SLAYYYY!!! Finally listened to all the songs, and watched all the videos :3 Her album is more grown up now. I can understand if there are haters, because they can’t understand a “mature” album. Eh. Support your faves, because they need you right now. Aaliyah ain’t got nothing, cuz she’s dead. Rihanna maybe on No. 1… for now.. just wait till tomorrow, see what happens to her. I don’t see Cici anywhere. Justin Bieber “delayed” his album. Even a pop singer knows when to back up. Hahaha.. SLAYYYYY!!! Beyonce you’re my Buffy! SLAYY ME!!

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    FormerlyFromTokyo Reply:

    @Sushi, Please don’t set the tone for this. I know you’re trying to get it in before the haters have their say, but still.

    This is something separate. Beyonce is mutually-exclusive from the other people that you mentioned, and if other people can’t see that, then it’s because they never were going to anyway.

    Besides, “No. 1 in 100 countries”? That speaks for itself. People can try to dispute that, but it’ll be pretty silly. As for myself, I enjoyed this album more than any of her others.

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    Cranberry Reply:

    @Sushi, the fact that you felt that need to run down a list of people (Aaliyah??) shows how childish you are.

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    The Crowd Updater Reply:

    @Cranberry, These are the “pressed fans” that make it hard to actually have a conversation about artists. WTF did she bring Aaliyah in the shit for and the woman is dead? #Pressed

    [Reply]

    meme Reply:

    @Sushi, yall been staying that about Rihanna for 7 yrs tho lmao. but seriously…this is a bad look for the hives. Just stop it..

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    King Fierce Reply:

    @meme, We at the BeyHive don’t recognize any affiliation with Sushi.
    #itshandled
    /-)

    [Reply]

    King Fierce Reply:

    @Sushi, I’m a Beyonce stan for sure but you dead wrong for that Aaliyah comment.
    /-)

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  3. BeyonceIsAJoke

    oh please, this heffa needs to hang it up flat screen. Tired of this country yodeling cow, steals from every single artist past and present then wants to be called a queen. Queens have originality boo examples: Janet, Madonna, Tina Turner, Cher etc. Stop bootlegging and swagga hacking Beyucki

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  4. Usher

    Queen B!

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  5. reverend

    hard to respect pop music when the “artist” barely contributes if at all to writing of the music. these big time singer have a team that does all the work for them so they actually deserve most of the credit.

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  6. NICKI MINAJ

    Only THE QUEEN could.
    Favorite songs:
    Pretty Hurts
    Ghost/Haunted
    No Angel
    Jealous
    Blue
    XO
    Everything else is great too

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  7. ThaMOnsta

    Drunk in Love is the sh*t!
    Like her or not, even if you’re a hater, Beyoncé knows how to put herself out of this world. She make it big with this marketing moove.
    She’s genius just for doing this.

    The album is full of great tracks, thanks to a great team (producers, feat, etc.), you can’t deny.

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  8. FormerlyFromTokyo

    I’m gonna tell you right now, as a non-stan and general fan, this album is great. I knew when I watched the FIRST video that I was going to get my money’s worth. (‘Pretty Hurts’ should be a single, btw – the vid is just too perfect for a single.) I watch the videos first in order to get a greater impact from the songs and I liked most of them.
    - ‘Pretty Hurts’ is a great video, and sad.
    - ‘Ghost/Haunted’ is my fav of all; the vids & the song – it just speaks the most to my taste in music.
    - ‘Blow/Cherry’ – I like the video & the song; it’s one of my favorite videos on the album.
    - ‘Partition’ – I like the song more though the vid is good – so naughty.
    - ‘Mine’ – I don’t even like Drake, so I was surprised by liking him in this (and even thinking he looked a bit cute – no shade).
    - ‘XO’ – Just such a great, uplifting sounding song, & though the vid is plain, I enjoy it b/c it’s nice to see people having fun
    - ”Yonce’ – one of my favorite vids
    - ‘Superpower’ – Her and Frank Ocean sound great together like peanut butter and chocolate, and I liked her clothes/hair in the vid (and the feat by Kelly/Michelle), but there could have been more to the vid – it seemed like leftovers from ‘Run the World/Girls.’
    - ‘Blue’ – touching video

    There was something to like about just about everything; the only two vids I usually skip are ‘No Angel’ and ‘Rocket’ – the former because I don’t like how she sings the song, and the latter b/c it just felt weird, like it was a vid she made just for her husband. Neither are “bad,” per se, just not ones I liked.

    [Reply]

    King Fierce Reply:

    @FormerlyFromTokyo, Agreed, I just can;t get into Rocket. I think its because it sounds too close to Deanjelo.
    /-)

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  9. Jrizzel88

    Shout out to Rolling Stone for referencing Miss Jackson..she should’ve came back like this in honor of her brother & her legacy! Nevertheless Beyonce is #winnnnnning! Incredible.

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  10. PEACE

    BEYONCE.I don’t understand maybe I’m not open minded enough but that album is far to be great.Like Yeezus it is bold and has a futuristic sound but in my opinion as a whole the album is not GOOD.And I wonder if it was an underground artist he would get the same recognition.

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    karamelkisses Reply:

    @PEACE, good point however keep it in the context of what AND who it is. yeezus received some critical praise but didn’t sell well however beyonce fans have been waiting a long time for new music and will eat this up. upon first listen, some tracks instantly jump at you depending on your ear for music. however if you buy this album thinking you’re getting “the old beyonce” no just NO. she has definitely pushed the envelope for her own personal sound refusing to sound like this or sound like that. and by dropping the album the way she did, no buffer just here’s the music & you decide what you like or don’t like. this is definitely a grown person’s album w/ songs like partition, haunted, flawless & rocket. but every girl 13 & on needs to listen & see the visuals for pretty hurts … arguably one of the world’s most beautiful women talking about the pain & disease being or maintaining the pretty. I applaude beyonce & kanye however where kanye has gone wrong is the ego, the tantrums & the flip outs have turned people off from the music. love or hate beyonce (the person & the album), you are having a dialogue about what you’re hearing & that’s what music should be about.

    [Reply]

    PEACE Reply:

    @karamelkisses, You’re right about her pushing the envelop and all that.There are definitely some good tracks on this album.From an artist perspective I’m definitely impressed and I agree with the fact that it is a brand new grown beyonce but the album as a whole is fine not great.In my opinion Rolling stone magazine was the most objective.I’ll definitely listen to it some more though

    [Reply]

    karamelkisses Reply:

    @PEACE, my advice would be to listen to it a couple of tracks at a time, digest it & revisit. I listen to everything from b, jay, drake, Gambino to imagine dragons, sigur ros, sia, bach, etc so musical palette is wide open & I’m excited to hear one of my faves try something different.

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    Chauncey Reply:

    @PEACE, Yeezus was pure trash. How unfair and mindblowing that that POS managed to receive Grammy nominations.

    [Reply]

  11. D. kells

    I have always like beyonce since she first came out as a artist because she can sing, dance and really give a great show and do multiple tyoes of songs from club hits to tear jerkers. This is a cool album nit her best in my opinion which I’m entitled to. I have always thought her first album was the best because I likeher style and falvor on that album. But I do agree with the critics for the top songs on this album. She is one of the top artist in the female game. Much respect to Queen B.

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  12. meme

    This album just blows my mind. Even tho I still feel there are no stand out “hit” singles….the album as a whole imo may just be Beyoncé best. Im so proud of her, you can hear the hunger in her voice this time. Very pleased that I purchased it and gave it a fair chance.

    [Reply]

    Carlito Reply:

    @meme, Beyonce doesn’t need fairweather ass bitches like you to take a chance on her. She’s BEYONCE.

    [Reply]

    Meme Reply:

    @Carlito, whatever. I’m still a consumer. I love music….

    [Reply]

    The Crowd Updater Reply:

    @Carlito, Bitch, she was saying something nice about your fave. Learn when to appreciate a fuckin compliment for the artist who’s dick you riding so hard

    [Reply]

    King Fierce Reply:

    @meme, No stand out singles?? Again this from a Rihanna fan…….
    /-)

    [Reply]

    XYZ Reply:

    @King Fierce, meme is right. the album as a whole is a great body of work. besides DIL one of my favorites by her. It’s, just like Beyonce said, an album and not a mashup of singles.

    but with that being said, there are no stand out singles that would have longevity – as a single, except maybe “drunk in love” or “pretty hurts”. at least not for the single buying crowd.

    but whatever, it’s an amazing album and I’m listening to it nonstop since it’s release. And I’m not even that big of a fan

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  13. JD

    I concur. I think it’s a incredible album, it’s in a lane of it’s own. I can’t even compare it to her former work let alone any of bitch in the charts. I just think it’s incredible & I’m glad it’s getting the credit it deserves.

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  14. Yeezus Christ

    lol @ “superb”… album is non listenable

    [Reply]

  15. Yundun

    This album is just okay to me I really wish I was hearing what everyone else is hearing. I really do.

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  16. .com

    This is not real r&b ..yes she has alot of fans but rocket is the only r&b track .the rest of the album is satanic with beyonce trying to rap and steal rihanna and d’angelos style. All the songs are childish she could never be a Aretha frankin jennifer Hudson fantasia Whitney Houston Monica Deborah cox or brandy. Beyonce is all hype where is the soul ? She sucks!!!

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  17. Daniella

    Stop kissing her ass. The best at what? Faking it and having people do her dirty work. There are a lot of up and coming female artists and mainstream that are better than her, people who have been in the industry for years, and people that have passed, who have lyrical meaning and honesty, versatility, and timeless records which she does NOT HAVE. She has music for the moment and has to over sex herself to sell an album. Yes she’s a grown woman, but whether she likes it or not she’s still an example. There are things you do and things you keep in private. The same repetitive I love Jay Z and narcissism w/ different writers and beats, isn’t different. You’ll accept anything from her; she’s one of the greatest entertainers of our time, but no Queen, just manufactured.

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  18. Daniella

    The Monica Lewinsky line was unnecessary. You Bey stans go overboard. Stop forcing her on her other people.

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  19. Ice

    As I’ve been listening to the album for the past two days (almost continously), I’ve been trying to stack it up against her past albums. I would say this one ranks higher than 4, Sasha Fierce, and B’day, but on par with her debut (if not lower, her debut had some classics).

    Based on my personal taste, I only rate 6 out of the 14 tracks five stars, however, those 6 tracks are possibly some of my favorite songs from her whole catalog. I’d give it a solid 8 out of 10.

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  20. Kyle

    This is why I’m so proud to be a Beyoncé fan. Say what you want, but she really is a QUEEN! I love this album more and more after each listen. I like “Super Power” with Frank Ocean and “No Angel” is so damn interesting. “Partition” is hot too.

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  21. Lmao

    Here sheepsheepsheep…. Pushing the envolope???! Brainwashed ass messes, album is pure debris… And I would expect anyone who has been trying to promote garbage music for nearly a year to finally release it lol! Why yall so shocked?

    Stans Im ready

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  22. YouGonHearIt

    I’ve been listening 2 days straight too and I can’t get XO and partition off my head. just this morning I listened to jealous for the third and something struck. the album is a grower and if u give it a chance, u gonna love it. about the rihanna comparison, stop it. hell she downloaded the album herself and u best believe she’ll be jamming to something ratchet off it as there’s something on iit for everyone. ratchet, sexy, pain, heartbreak, sensual, love, gore, horror. I could go on forever. even the stars from Cher to GaGa to Katy Perry are bowing down so Riri is too but just for her own brand she has to remain mute. Heeyyyy Ms Carter , we’re proud of u

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    FormerlyFromTokyo Reply:

    @YouGonHearIt, It’s definitely a grower. I’ve found that a lot of songs I enjoyed the more I watched the vids/listened to them, even if they weren’t really the types of songs I’d like right off the bat. It’s one thing to listen with a critical ear and another to listen with a truly critical ear. In one case a person is looking for something to dislike; in another case the person is looking for something to like.

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  23. Jojoagape

    Lol at someone’s list that has 4 as the least best album! They know nothing about R&B. Yeah it might have sold less then all her other albums but the material was flawless. I think that person needs to listen again and so he/she doesn’t continue to fall victim to what the radio tells him/her.

    [Reply]

    King Fierce Reply:

    @Jojoagape, Agreed. People need to stop sleeping on 4, it is her best album. I love BEYONCÉ but 4 is still the best album.
    /-)

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  24. BEYHIVE2014

    Queen & King at the same time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  25. Ready 4 yolas

    the album sold out 80,0000 Go Bee and some of her fans knew she would come out with an album or a song. Man are song are Dope, amazing heard them all.

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  26. Frank

    The Album hasn’t really a Big Radio Hit so it was the best thing what they could do to realease the Album unexpectedly. With Christmas the Album well sell very good. If Jigga knows one thing than it is how to make Money.

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  27. Sunny California

    The album at most if 3/5 man, Beyoncé is a heavily commercialised artist appealing to the masses, that isn’t cool.

    [Reply]

  28. mal

    INCREDIBLE

    [Reply]

  29. Ciarastan

    Will be forgotten in a month.

    [Reply]

    karamelkisses Reply:

    @Ciarastan, as has Ciara’s entire existence. #GOODbye

    [Reply]

  30. NICKI MINAJ

    The album has no direct radio hit because the songs aren’t catchy. They have real lyrics, real emotions and real topics not repetitive and sing along choruses and hooks but I do believe XO will do fine. I rather the album doing numbers as a whole than the singles.

    [Reply]

  31. Sneaux White

    Beyoncé > B’Day & 4 (tied) >>>> Dangerously in Love >>>>> I Am…

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  32. Respect

    I don’t get people saying this album has no hits! Blow and XO are hits in my ears. Even if they don’t hit number 1 the album will sell really well worlwide. More so than her last album 4.

    Blow is my songg

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  33. coolness

    I’m still in shock that Beyonce actually released an album this year as a surprise. Like, my sister and I were discussing a few days ago how we’d like to see Bey drop an album that would change the game and introduce us to a new side of her and lo and behold, she did. It is a grower on first listen like JT’s 20/20 experience or Usher’s Looking 4 Myself. She’s finally opened up and let us in. Kinda like her Velvet Rope. However, I cannot with her stans (who have every right to be happy and rejoice on the slayage) bringing down other female artists to show how great the album is. Let it speak for itself because it sure did to me. Congrats Bey!

    [Reply]

    karamelkisses Reply:

    @coolness, stop trying to classify all bey fans/stans as one group. there are some that are obsessed & they certainly have that right. bey is a bad bitch & I love her because she proves that at the end of the day, it all comes back to talent. and to be honest, over the past couple of days some of these fans of other artists have been talking real slick (aaliyah, Rihanna, gaga, miley) so I completely understand why the hive would clap back.

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  34. Alicia

    @Lmao,
    Ditto they need to check articles in Oct/Nov when CEO Columbia said cryptically that she would be releasing before Christmas. Blow is garbage what grown woman talks about cherry unless they’re a virgin. So classless.

    [Reply]

  35. RealityCheck

    Ahhhh… I don’t know what the big fuss is about? First the only real viable songs on the entire LP have already been released. Please put the kool aide classes down! The “Drunk In Love” single is very hot and an obvious snare for Bey heads to run out and buy the LP without even listening to her offering. That’s OK… to be expected. Groupies are the reason that the record industry is dying a slow agonizing death as I type. It’s the same flowery crap you hear on every release that she does. Back to Drunk In Love”, a very hot track with southern “trap” muzac drums production driving new Beyounce vocals that are fine tuned to perfection.Show cased with by a video showing off a slimmed down, harder bodied “Bey” flaunting a new sexy hair style on a beach, her bronze skin glistening from the sea water. We can almost taste her bodaciousness! Now put that with her husband Jay Z spitting bars playfully next to her, and what do you have? A trap that will send every groupie into a feeding frenzy and create an environment conducive for her to break iTune records with an LP that is woefully lacking, at best. By the way “Bey Heads” didn’t you notice something oddly familiar about the way Bey sung “Drunk In Love”… you guys didn’t pay attention to her new doo and slimmed down body??? Pull up some music videos of Keri Hilson the replay the drunk n love video. Notice the obvious… I’m just saying! Stop being sheep!

    [Reply]

  36. RealityCheck

    Ahhhh… I don’t know what the big fuss is about? First the only real viable songs on the entire LP have already been released. Please put the kool aide glasses down! The “Drunk In Love” single is very hot and an obvious snare for Bey heads to run out and buy the LP without even listening to her offering. That’s OK… to be expected. Groupies are the reason that the record industry is dying a slow agonizing death as I type. It’s the same flowery crap you hear on every release that she does. Back to Drunk In Love”, a very hot track with southern “trap” muzac drums production driving new Beyonce vocals that are fine tuned to perfection.Show cased with by a video showing off a slimmed down, harder bodied “Bey” flaunting a new sexy hair style on a beach, her bronze skin glistening from the sea water. We can almost taste her bodaciousness! Now put that with her husband Jay Z spitting bars playfully next to her, and what do you have? A trap that will send every groupie into a feeding frenzy and create an environment conducive for her to break iTune records with an LP that is woefully lacking, at best. By the way “Bey Heads” didn’t you notice something oddly familiar about the way Bey sung “Drunk In Love”… you guys didn’t pay attention to her new sexy doo and slimmed down body??? Pull up some music videos of Keri Hilson the replay the drunk n love video. Notice the obvious… I’m just saying! Stop being sheep!

    [Reply]

    Got Damn Reply:

    @RealityCheck, thanks for the essay, now stfu, k? Thnks #***Flawless

    [Reply]

  37. JB

    I think the songs alone are weak. However, people will continue to buy the album because of the visual videos, one of which looks like soft porn not art. The video where she walks down the hall in panties that show her azz blew me away… Bottom line is Beyonce’s sex appeal is selling this album, not her artistry.

    [Reply]

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