13 December 2013 by

Beyonce’s Surprise Album Featuring Drake, Miguel, Pharrell And Frank Ocean – 5 Initial Observations

After the rumours about Ratchet, Grown Woman and Rocket, Beyonce’s fifth album is finally here. It’s an album which feels more like B’day with its eclectic mix of genre-shifting songs and slick R&B but continues on the individualist path set up by 4 (to wit, listen to her line on Haunted - “I probably won’t make any money off this, oh well” and observe her ‘mask off’ pose in the poster from her upcoming tour). Like 4, Beyonce feels like she’s collaged together her favourite R&B albums and made something rather brilliant.  You can get it here. In the meantime, we've jotted down our initial reactions...

1) Frank Ocean’s Superpower Is Prince On Speed…

..Or just 'in France'. Yes her second collaboration with Frank (following I Miss You) is a spellbinding weird-waltz which recalls Prince & The Revolution’s Paris-minded Parade album. Absolutely gorgeous.  

2) Blow Is Classic Pharrell

Beyonce’s has had a fitful musical relationship with the one time Neptune – Green Light and Kitty Kat come to mind – but Blow finds them in in perfect sync recalling Mariah Carey’s Say Something with extra 80s steaminess (loving the horns and the horns in the bridge).

3) ***Flawless Contains A Feminist Message

*** Flawless (previously Bow Down Bitches) caused a ruckus when it was leaked earlier this year for the lyrics which were seen as braggish (specifically “I’m not just somebody’s little wife, don’t get it twisted/ Bow down bitches”) which of course was silly (SHE’S BEYONCE PEOPLE). But the renamed ***Flawless contains a powerful spoken word section from Americanah author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which states “we say to girls ‘you can have ambition but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man'.”

4) She Channels D’Angelo With Miguel

Rocket – co written with Miguel (and Timberlake) – sounds like Beyonce’s been listening to loads of Voodoo-era D’Angelo specifically Untitled (How Does It Feel).

5) …And Drake On, Erm, Her Song With Drake

Drake continues his emo obsession with the ‘good girls’ on Mine, his duet with Beyonce. But she gets to answer back- she sings “stop making a big deal out of the little things..all I’m asking for is you,”. Which is what you'd imagine all the 'good girls' in Drake songs would say if they could. Beyonce also spookily sounds like Aaliyah on Mine too (Drake is working on a posthumous album of hers).



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