Just Stan

*This is not a review. 

Yes! The Yonce is back. Nah...let's stick with Beyonce. The 14 tracked, self-entitled album dropped unexpectedly this week and you noticed. I certainly did. I was honest with myself and I watched all of Blue Ivy's mother's videos and I listened to the entire album twice and found myself repeating "Partition", "Drunk In Love", "Pretty Hurts" and "Flawless" of course. . I was particularly interested on how Beyonce managed to clear a sample from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” TedxEuston Speech. The Queen Mother of Contemporary African Literature agreed for her voice to be used on Beyonce's trackFlawless/Bow Down? It was so deliciously paradoxical.

 It was one of the main reasons why I decided to listen to the album. Initially, I thought of it as a marketing ploy, to draw in a new kind of audience. I’ve never known Beyonce to be politically inclined, only in her days of Destiny Child when it was cool to be pro something. To be fair, we did see some humanitarian world effort with “I Was Here” but wasn’t she asked to do it?

The videos and production helped a great deal and encouraged me to listen to the album and I made sure I listened to it without the visuals; I didn’t want to overlook the lyrics.  The frivolousness of pop culture has been criticised over and over again, which has caused me to deliberately seek out music that is pleasant to my ears sonically and is somewhat meaningful. We are entering a golden era of music which focuses on the conscious and lyricism. Beyonce never had those two. It’s now a fad to make music that means something in pop besides being gimmicky and sexual and Beyonce did all of the above.

The album had been painted as her most daring album yet, almost revolutionary. I had to find out what the fuss was all about. This was an honest album and we actually got to hear an opinion from beyus, some soul, some heart. I prefer her rachet (the slang term for the American underclass) and beautiful, I couldn’t help but reflect on the lyrics of “Pretty Hurts” “What's in your head it doesn't matter”. This line was meant to challenge society’s obsession with image, particularly with women but in the context of lyricism, I prefer Beyonce just beautiful, her efforts for feminism is commendable but it didn’t do much justice with the simple lyrics. If you’re going to be a feminist, do it right!  Who am I to criticise the award winning, chart topping African American female singer? Too much good is going on here for me to criticise and I felt snobbish in that single moment.

We box artists into genres that when they try to evolve, it’s painful for us to accept that change. 

I said that like I cared. Absolutely not! 

In Beyonce’s case, it’s not only that she was innovative in dropping her album with no middle man involved, out of nowhere and had the number one selling album across the globe on Taylor Swift’s birthday and lives up to her message in empowering herself as a woman (key word being herself, please read on). The only thing evolved about this album, is how it was released and how she managed to bite into every past time artist’s style and get away with it. She carried all her influences and updated them in today’s music using the hit makers such as Pharrell, Timberland, Justin Timberlake, her husband, Hit-boy, literally and as a noun. Note; none were female (excluding the visual cameos). It was still a Beyonce album; only she was more open about her sexual exploits. That was the message; why are you crucifying me for being sexually confident? I am a grown woman, let’s challenge the whole landscape of feminism in this America/World and stop messing with my ‘new’ money. I am happy and I am fucking. All wonderful messages that need to be discussed. No sarcasm intended. I really meant what I wrote.

It's a polarising piece of work and Beyonce Knowles is a polarising artist; you either accept her for the artist she is or completely dislike her (I am trying to avoid the overused word, ‘hate’). I've never met anyone who picked and chose songs on a Beyonce album until now.

I will try not to be classist and like some of her songs and try not to think too much about the lyrics. After all, I understood all she had to say and I was entertained, that's enough right?