12. Beyonce – Beyonce
I’ll come out with it: this is my favorite Beyonce album. I’m a Beyonce fan. I anticipated each of her albums. She’s great. I love the singles. There’s some deep cuts (“Crash Into You”!) that I love too. But I always found myself skipping some tracks on each of her albums. I’ve never been totally satisfied with an album-length listen from her. Until this self-titled album, released with absolutely no warning whatsoever (Death Grips did the same thing with No Love Deep Web, another point in my favor for rating them as highly as I did last year).
It’s so strong, all throughout. “Pretty Hurts” and “Heaven” are archetypal Beyonce ballads. “XO” and “Rocket” are the happy, lovey-dovey songs that she excels at too. But Beyonce adds a couple of other wrinkles beyond her usual. This is her dirtiest, nastiest, sexiest album yet. “Blow” is a disco song about licking her skittles, turning her cherry out, and giving her that daddy long stroke. “Partition” drips sex fluids all over the beat, and all over Bey’s clothes in the song. I could go on forever about the sexiness here. I’m most interested in how Houston this album is. Some instrumentals evoke chopped & screwed, plenty more just wear a Texas hip-hop influence on their sleeve. Beyonce herself, whether she’s performing this or not, uses a bit of Texas country inflection on this album. And the braggadocio of hip-hop is there too, especially on “***Flawless”, where Beyonce reminds other pop stars that the pop game “is my shit. Bow down, bitches” before moving on to making the track a feminist manifesto. The only weak point here is Jay-Z’s verse on “Drunk In Love,” where he favorably compares himself to Mike Tyson and Ike Turner. Why Beyonce allowed him to sing the praises of domestic abusers on an album that she and audiences want to see as a major work of feminism is beyond me. But that aside, this is an incredible pop album.
Originally Posted by Delano
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