Beyoncé's 'Beyoncé' – What You Really Need To Know
So last week, without one word of warning, Beyoncé released her fifth studio album. The world's biggest popstar, the woman who sold out a stadium tour in under an hour last year, uploaded her new album with any fanfare or any promotion late last week. Quite how this was a kept a secret for so long we have no idea, but it's out there now. So, as a public service, here's what you need to know about the album, which is out in store on Friday (December 20).
What’s The Background?
It was no secret that Beyoncé was working on new music, it makes total sense. Her last album 4 emerged in 2011, she announced a big UK tour this week and earlier this year she dropped a new single 'Bow Down' (which hasn't made the record). But how far along was she with the new album? No-one knew that.
Well now we know, it's done, it's 14 tracks long and she's made a video to go along with every track. Billed as the singer's first visual album, featuring 14 new songs and 17 videos, it's set to be in the shops in time for Christmas.
Who’s At The Controls?
The list of writers and producers for this album is, as you'd expect, absolutely top notch. Opener 'Pretty Hurts' was co-written with Sia and super-producer Ammo, while Detail, who's worked with the likes of Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga, is credited on two tracks.
Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland are also on the roster, with the N*E*R*D man credited on two tracks and Timberlake and Timbaland co-writing three, including songs named 'Blow', 'Partition' and 'Rocket', which also features rising star Miguel.
OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder also appears and co-writes a track named 'XO, but, mysteriously, the name credited with most co-writes is a person named Boots, the identity of whom is currently unknown, not for long though…
Are There Any Big Name Guests?
It's a Beyoncé record, of course there are. Naturally her husband Jay-Z makes an appearance, adding his booming tones to a track named 'Drunk In Love'. Drake also shows up, guesting on a song titled 'Mine', while the sensational Frank Ocean also sings on a track named 'Superpower'. As well as this, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also makes an appearance, contributing to a song called '*** Flawless'.
There's even a credit for Beyonce's daughter Blue Ivy, who is credited with a guest spot on a track fittingly named 'Blue'.
So What's It Like?
Surprisingly slow. It's immaculately produced, but the big, bombastic pop songs that were in abundance on I Am Sasha Fierce… and 4 seem to be a thing of the past. The production is moody and immaculate and the album feels quite reflective as a whole. This one will demand repeated listens, but it will undoubtedly be worth it.
Beyoncé new album is released physically on Friday (December 20) in hmv stores.