Released December 13, 2013 this is her fifth solo album. Developed as a visual album, the songs are accompanied by non-linear short films meant to illustrate the concepts of the project. It was dropped with out warning and immediately went to #1 on the US Billboard 200 (her fifth album to do so) and was the fastest selling album in the history of iTunes. It has since sold 15 million copied worldwide.
Jason: Oh hey look. It’s Beyoncé. Did this album rock your world when it came out?
Brad: Oh my god….yes! It was a surprise release album with a music video for every song on it. All released at the same time. I loved it instantly.
Jason: This is the “surfbort” album. Which became a meme. Was anything else from this album meme-worthy?
Brad: Yes, surfbort is from “Drunk In Love”. The phrase “I Woke Up Like This” from “Flawless” is also from this album. That still gets referenced a lot today.
Jason: I didn’t realize she coined that phrase. People still say that a lot. I like this album a lot, you can tell there is a very specific point of view here with a lot of thought and artistry behind it.
Brad: It was a change in style for her. I very much approve of that change. A very grown up and sexy album.
Jason: Yes and you know which song and video is my favorite from this album.
Brad: Yeah, you love “Blow”.
Jason: Yes, it’s my jam. I bet if I was a nine-year-old and heard this song I wouldn’t understand like 90% of the lyrics. I would think it’s about candy: Skittles, sweet in the middle, cherry. “It’s about having to clean the Slushie machine. You need to turn the cherry out.”
Brad: Yeah, just like when I used to innocently sing along to Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop”.
Jason: Here is what I like about this album. One of my least favorite songs is “No Angel”. I don’t hate it but it’s not in the top. However, the orchestration of it has a lot of depth and is multi-layered. I bet an instrumental version of it would be amazing.
Brad: The music on that one sounds kinda 80s-inspired.
Jason: It has a lot of synths. What are some of your favorite songs? I also really like “Blue” as well.
Brad: My two favorites are “Partition” & “Blue”. Partition is such a brilliant sexy stripper song. And Blue is a really sweet song. The music on that one sounds so good on headphones
Jason: I love “Partition” as well. It almost seems like two songs put together. I wonder if Monica Lewinsky was excited that she got name checked in a Beyoncé song but then was like…”HEY! What a minute.”
Brad: Monica’s name became a verb in that song.
Jason: It sure did. That song was co-written by Justin Timberlake.
Brad: “Yoncé” is the first part of “Partition”. They are split into two on the video edition of the album.
Jason: Interesting. I haven’t ever watched the visuals. Tell me a little about them.
Brad: The videos have various styles and were filmed all over the world while she was on tour. They aren’t cohesive like the video album to her next album “Lemonade” but they are pretty interesting to watch.
Jason: Had anyone ever before released an album with an accompanying video for every song at the same time?’
Brad: I don’t think so. At least not a secret video album. Can you imagine all that goes into keeping something like that a secret? Especially, if you are a superstar like Beyoncé.
Jason: NDAs out the wazoo. Drake is slightly less boring on this album. He is on “Mine” which I don’t mind, don’t mind.
Brad: Yeah, I “don’t mind” him either in small doses.
Jason: Frank Ocean is also on this which was our previously reviewed artist.
Brad: Yes! I like that song a lot. It has a futuristic doo-wop sound that is really cool.
Jason: Here is a two-part quiz about this album, ready?
Brad: Uh-oh, I guess so.
Jason: 1- Name all the members of the hip hop, rappin’ “Girl’s Tyme”.
Brad: Um…Beyoncé, Kelly, LaTavia & LeToya
Jason: Beyoncé, LaTavia (which Ed McMahon pronounces as Lativia like some kind of yogurt), Nina, Nikki, Kelly, and Ashley. I’ll give you partial credit for naming LeToya because after Girl’s Tyme lost Star Search they cut Ashley, Nina and Nikki and replaced them with LeToya. (Side note: the band then went through several name changes including: Something Fresh, Cliché, The Dolls, and Destiny before eventually becoming Destiny’s Child.) Okay, part 2- who did Girl’s Tyme lose to? (bonus if you can name how many stars Girl’s Tyme received.)
Brad: Oh boy, I don’t remember.
Jason: Skeleton Crew! (and Girl’s Tyme received 3-stars).
Brad: I failed this quiz.
Jason: Well, to be fair I listened to this album about 15 times in the past 4 days. And I have the song playing right now. And I had to look it up.
Brad: I’ve never liked skits or spoken work interludes on albums. I don’t mind them on this one but I find that I just tune them out over time.
Jason: Fair enough. These are at least short and also serve a point about how far she has come from a little girl in Houston who had her named mispronounced to a powerful, empowering, one-named megastar.
Brad: Very true.
Jason: So what grade do you give Beyoncé by Beyoncé?
Brad: I definitely give it an A and I’m so impressed by the fact that since this great album she has released two masterpieces. Her album “Lemonade” and her live performance documentary “Homecoming”. As far as I’m concerned, Beyoncé is now a music legend.
Jason: I concur. It’s an A from me as well. Now let me hear you say “Hey Miss Carter!”
Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.