Beyoncé gifts ultimate surprise with her new self-titled album

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By Sloane Samberson

Staff Writer

Beyoncé Knowles is an artist who sure knows how to stir up the news, but not in a bad way. Keeping her newest album a complete secret, Knowles created Beyoncé to not only express her vast love for producing great music, but to bring a new twist as to how an album should be produced.

This self-titled album was released last Friday, taking everyone by surprise. No one had any idea Knowles had been working on an entirely visual album consisting of 17 songs.

“I was completely shocked when I heard Beyoncé had created an album entirely out of music videos. The minute I heard the news, I went and bought the album on iTunes. I love every song on it, but especially ‘Pretty Hurts’,” sophomore Maggie Stone said.

Fans became eager when they noticed Knowles did not release any singles during the time of the Presidential Inauguration and Super Bowl. It would have been the perfect time because all of America would have been watching, but Knowles had bigger things in store.

It has been said that recording took place over a year and a half ago, but began at a Hamptons retreat in New York during the summer of 2012. Some of the collaborators for this album were Jay Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Sia, Ryan Tedder, Frank Ocean, Melina Matsoukas and many others.

“When I heard that Frank Ocean and Drake were going to be featured on the album, I knew for a fact I had to buy it. Beyoncé is amazing, but along with the help of Frank Ocean and Drake, there was no way I couldn’t buy it,” sophomore Anderson Kim said.

Now to get to what this album is really all about, the music videos. It is a huge investment for Knowles but being that she is one of the top female artists out there, the price did not matter. Each video was filmed in a different venue giving this album a wide spectrum of creativity.

The song “Pretty Hurts” talks about how being societies way of “beautiful” hurts. Women think the only way they can be beautiful is by starving themselves, getting plastic surgery and basically just appearing as the mirror image of a Barbie doll.

The first time I heard “Pretty Hurts,” I immediately fell in love. Knowles does such an excellent job portraying the pain that girls feel just to look beautiful. There is no exact definition of beauty, all things contain beauty, you just have to look in order to see it.

One of the more emotional songs on the album is “Heaven.” The lyrics talk about how Heaven could not wait for someone to become an angel. The video was filmed in a church and exposes a very sad and vulnerable side of Knowles.

“***Flawless” was filmed in the streets of a run down city. This song is very fierce and empowering for women. Writer and feminist expert, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, comes in at certain points in the song and talks about how women are taught to be perfect, little housewives and not to have too much power or else they would be assembling a man.

The empowerment I get just from listening to “***Flawless” makes feel as if I am unstoppable. Women are often looked down upon because of how glorified men are and the power the supposedly hold. It was genius of Knowles to include commentary from Adichie because she is so widely known for her acts against feminism. This song gives me hope that women will stop being viewed  as second best when compared to men.

Many fans think “Heaven” was written about Knowles’ miscarriage she had almost two years ago. Knowles expresses to the world how hard it was to go through losing such a precious gift, she thought she may never have a child. Thankfully, Knowles was blessed with her baby girl Blue Ivy, who is just over a year old now.

“Blue” is a song dedicated to the precious, little bundle of joy herself, Blue Ivy. It is filmed in a tropical location on the beach and mainly talks about how much Knowles loves Blue Ivy. The music video is precious seeing Blue Ivy cradled in her mother’s arms. Towards the end of the song you can even hear Blue Ivy’s sweet and innocent voice calling her mothers name.

I cannot even begin to imagine how Knowles put this whole album together in less than two years. The fact she had to write the songs, melodies and come up with corresponding videos, puts me in complete awe of Knowles’ genuine talent. I have no complaints for Beyoncé. Each song is so well written and original that it is hard to believe if someone said they did not enjoy Beyoncé one bit.

The album consists of many other great songs with equally as great music videos, but comes at a fairly expensive price of $15.99. You can also only buy the album as a whole, not just individual songs, but I can guarantee you that no song will disappoint.