I finally got around to listening to Beyoncé’s self-titled album and I’m digging the experimental sound of the whole album. It’s like some of her younger sister’s style is rubbing off on her. I only watched a few of the visuals from the album. I guess I should watch those, too??
This track, co-written by the producer Boots, contains two parts. The first part, Ghost, starts out with a clip of some lady mispronouncing her name – “Be-yons” – and then Beyoncé begins to rap, akin to Kendrick Lamar when he does his robotic, monotone shtick. I was weirded out when she says on the outro, “Soul not for sale // Probably won’t make no money off this, oh well.” Wait, but you still gon’ be making that CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE. But I understand what she means. She wants to break out of the monotony of the current state of pop music, not do what the record labels would her to do, and be able to express herself freely in her music. As she raps earlier in the song:
I’m climbing up the walls cause all the s*** I hear is boring
All the s*** I do is boring, all these record labels boring
I don’t trust these record labels, I’m torn
Then, in the second part, Haunted, which sounds even darker and dramatic. There are a number of sexual overtones, just like throughout the entire album, as it sounds like her lyrics are directed to a lover. I’m really loving the minimalistic production of this track, especially the heavy bassline. Whoever this Boots guy is, he’s now on my radar, and I hope to hear more good stuff from him.
Other tracks that have been earning repeats are Blow (anything Pharrell touches is gold; also, this song is not appropriate for children), Rocket (co-writted by Justin Timberlake and produced with Timbaland; this is basically the female version of D’Angelo’s How Does This Feel, and I’m sure many babies will be made from this song), Superpower (yay, Frank Ocean and Pharrell!), and Heaven (“I fought for you the hardest, it made me the strongest.” I had to research who she was referring to, and realized the song is a ballad dedicated to her unborn child, lost to miscarriage :(( ). Oh, I could’ve done without Drake on this album………………………………………………………
I’d have to go back and revisit her four previous albums, but I believe this is her strongest (I’ll leave “best” up to you) album to date. It shows her growth and willingness to expand her sound. I’m surprised by how much restraint she showed on this album; what I mean by that, is that she doesn’t go off belting in her songs. I like it. With her status in the mainstream, she’s able to take such risks, and she has the power to influence the direction of R&B music (please can y’all move away from doing EDM-type stuff, thank you.). This is synonymous with Kanye West’s Yeezus. Many casual hip hop heads may believe that what Kanye West created was something completely fresh and new to hip hop, but there are a number of established acts (Death Grips comes to mind) that have already been pushing this sound. There have been numerous alt-R&B artists who have been producing music with this sound but with Beyoncé, it is now being pushed to the forefront and is broadcasted on a grander scale.