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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2014
On December 13, 2013, while engaged in a world tour, and without any pre-release announcement, Beyonce released her self-titled 5th solo studio album exclusively via the iTunes store. In just 3 days, "Beyonce" sold 828,000 copies; music history was made, new industry rules were set. 14 songs, 17 videos, switching from uninhibited female empowerment to kitchen sink drama, it was not just merely a record by a megastar, but a statement, as everything about this dark and complex record suggested that, despite the eponymous title, Beyonce was demanding more of herself than just being Beyonce.

Co-written and co-produced by herself and A-listers such as Pharell, and Timbaland, among others, and with references to her competitive showbiz upbringing and acknowledgments of her beloved hometown, she continued the game of role-playing she is so good at: pop diva, fashion icon, wife, mother, herself, Sasha Fierce, revolutionary, provocateur etc. The result was a grown-up pop album that is mature without being boring, bold without being forced, and entertaining without being a drag. Not a small feat in pop music where so rarely something exciting happens.

3 months later, sales are growing steadily, and "Beyonce" is considered by critics and fans alike as B's creative and commercial peak. Sonically brilliant, and visually magnificent, "Beyonce" is among her most entertaining and sexually explicit work, yet substantive in every respect, easily her most accomplished project to date. Given the enormous enthusiasm of her overwhelmed fans, I would expect B herself to be extremely proud of such a bold, expansive body of work, and its well-deserved success. Where Lady GaGa failed with "Artpop", Beyonce triumphed with this.

This career highlight from one of showbiz's most hard-working superstars is now available in a CD+blu-ray set, in an obvious attempt to boost sales furthemore. Those who purchase the new edition, will of course enjoy the brilliant songs and videos, and marvel at the astonishing details in picture, the crisp sound, and pristine production. Unless one is a completist, this edition is simply an alternative to the original CD+DVD set, featuring identical tracklist, artwork and packaging housed in a slipcase cover. Nothing new for those who have already got a copy of the initial release, which undoubtedly is one of the best albums of 2013-2014.

PLATINUM UPDATE (6/12): 5 million copies sold, and following her highly profitable Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, the unstoppable Beyonce is back with this special edition box set of her record-breaking, self-titled conceptual opus. It features a live DVD with 10 performances from the aforementioned show, plus artist commentary, an extra CD with 2 brand new songs ("7/11" and "Ring off") and 4 remixes (including the remix of B's song for H&M, "Standing on the sun"), and a mini version of the official 2015 Beyonce calendar. So much to enjoy, but it is very annoying that the show does not appear in its entirety. Obviously a separate release for it is on the way, but it would be generous to include it here, too. The original CD+DVD are still here, though, making this a pristine package that truly lives up to its "platinum" status, which seems to have become synonymous with Beyonce. Whoever dismissed the album has certainly missed the point of one of the greatest pop records about freedom to express sexuality, to be imperfect, and to enjoy themselves (a notion further enhanced by the new, so very different for B's normal niveau, video for "7/11"). Those who have bought the original version of "Beyonce" are going to be frustrated, but this is a spectacular repackage that really has to be bought. I was going to slay Bey for shameless cash in, but this is simply too good to miss.
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on 1 December 2015
4 found Beyonce at her peak it was mature and took a direction into less mainstream affair that has culminated in Beyonce her best if not most palatable work. This is a rare thing in modern music an album in the very essence that hits are hard to harvest but great songs easy to be found. It's darker much more sexual but sultry and smooth with it. It's personal and mature and very alternative R&B in the vein of Frank Ocean. The album is heavy on atmosphere and takes a few listens to connect and click. There is funk in songs like Blow no too far from songs on 4, the great but different ballads like XO and the highly charged Partition, Haunted, Drunk In Love the three that most sum up the sound of Beyonce. Those hoping for a return to I Am... Sasha Fierce will be dissapointed this sees beyonce move up and beyond and finally finds her deserving of all her previous praise.
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on 14 September 2014
The DVD helps you to understand the songs and the bonus track is amazing! I find the album great for listening to on my commute. I also find it interesting the songs that have been made popular from this album, drunk in love, XO because there are definitely other tracks that our my favourite but it goes to show how an understanding of digital music can revolutionise the way music is promoted i.e. people chose what should be a single via download rather then the artist or label.
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on 3 October 2014
A must buy album, very conceptual. I never thought Beyoncé would put something this big out there in the market! I totally recommend the vinyl as it comes with a download code (much like what the CD does) + a DVD featuring the visuals and a lovely packaged booklet plus the 2 180g audiophile heavyweight vinyls... for such a good price! go grab a copy!
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on 18 December 2014
Product came new and sealed!! That's all I can say really as we all know Beyoncé is a great artist! Added DVD for all videos seems wicked, haven't opened as its a present so wont know how good DVD is.
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on 22 December 2013
This album is one of my favourite of all my albums! It truly shows how Beyonce has grown artistically as well as a woman. She'll have a few #1's with this and it's definitely a game-changer. She's truly an icon.
The album itself shows great attention to detail with a great feel :)
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BEYONCE is the fifth studio album by Beyonce. She is also the album's executive producer, co-writer of every track, and was the co-director of the album's music videos. Significant contributions in song writing and production include the likes of Boots, Sia, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Tedder, Jay Z, The-Dream, Timbaland, Frank Ocean, and Pharrell Williams. Music video directors include Hype Williams and Terry Richardson.

In December 2013 the album was unexpectedly released to the iTunes Store with no promotion having taken place beforehand, with a CD/DVD set being released to selected stockists a week later. Despite the lack of promotion, and late release date, the album has been named as one of 2013's biggest selling albums, and it hit the #1 spot in 90 countries upon it's release.
BEYONCE is officially described as being an electronic R&B album, combining minimalist production, loose song structure and emotive vocals. Beyonce revisits her common theme of self-empowerment, although the album is distinguished from previous releases for its frank discourse on female sexuality.

I honesty like every single track on BEYONCE. There are a few familiar styles that have been included in different eras on Beyonces past albums and Destiny's Child days [such as Pretty Hurts, XO, Superpower and Heaven], however the vast majority of the album's tracks are a new style for Beyonce. It's both old school electronic R&B, and a modern energy. I'm not the best at describing different musical styles, but this a welcome change for Beyonce and is a real bar-raiser of an album.

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But just viewed purely as a "visual album" I have to admit that BEYONCE suddenly becomes less enjoyable and diverse, so I look at the videos as simply being an added extra. First of all the idea isn't actually a new one for Beyonce as the special edition of her second album - B'Day - also used the same concept, so I'm not sure where all of the hype of her 'fresh', 'unique', and new 'vision' has come from.

However my main complaint with the videos is that the songs Rocket and Mine are shortened, so now they feel like they're slowly building up to something, but they never really deliver. It especially ruins Mine. Plus Songs like XO and Superpower [Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Pharrell Williams appear in the video] have nice videos, but I feel as though the actual song lyrics doesn't match up with them, so that lessens the impact of the songs for me.

And call me a prude, but it's kind of funny to start the visual album with a 7 minute video of a beauty pageant contestant realizing how empty and meaningless her life has become by being focused on her looks and body [Pretty Hurts], only to follow this video with tons of footage of a barely dressed Beyonce shaking her ass and thrusting her hips at me. I know female sexuality is a major theme on the album, but it is too repetitive visually and comes off as "same old, same old". I'm sure most men [and a significant number of women] will love this aspect, but for me personally these repeats of the same old Beyonce music video tactics is getting pretty dull now and makes me stop paying attention = in visual format the songs begin to meld together, so only a few songs stand out for me.

The only way thing I feel that the visual album improved on the traditional audio version is that it removes the lengthy intros from the tracks Haunted and Partition and gives them separate videos - Ghost and Yonce [Beyonce's new alter ego]. The intros are interesting and the tracks they were added onto are two of my favorites on the album, but all four tracks sound better to me standing on their own.
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on 4 July 2016
Never again; over indulgent, individual self admiring rather patronising production. Never again. Live performance or nothing. This talented singer is done no favours here, well not unless she wants to be a kind of rather shady night club miming act, just short of a pole.
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on 2 March 2014
There is no other way to describe this fine work. Don't label this as a gimmick, this an artist with a genuine will to leave a mark on the history of music and mankind. I will save you the bore of analysing each track or video, but instead look into the impact this will have for years to come and what it will mean for up-and-coming artists and record labels alike.

We live in a social media era that turned the world into a village where news are shared faster than they had ever been. Beyoncé's project is forcing musicians to be in touch with their fans, the same way Michael Jackson twisted MTV's arm to open doors for Black entertainers. It looks like you can no longer rely on your talents - I am not saying that she lacks it - but you have to market yourself visually, work hard to achieve the status that you crave for.

The album also teaches musicians how to keep control of their work. This could be expensive, but with time, musicians can control how they want to market themselves. The visual album will stay with us for a long time since certain tracks translate better - looks better - when you watch it (GHOST/HAUNTED particularly).

Musically or lyrically, the album breaks no boundary. It only follows a tried-and-tested template of contemporary RNB. This is what she does and this is what should be expected of her. I can't help but beg her to release a mp3 version o GROWN WOMAN. There has never been a video that I have played on repeat more than 10 times EVER! As a African music DJ, this is the perfect bridge and one of the reasons why I love music of African American origin, I can relate to it. We are like long lost family or in the words of Nas & Damian Marley, distant relatives...

TRIVIA: Beyoncé may be the first artist to release simultaneously a CD & DVD for her new album, but this concept has been a trend by Congolese artists since the mid 1990s. When Koffi Olomide released V12, he did a video for each song. Even though many of those videos were of sub-standard quality, he inspired his colleagues to do the same. In 1999, PAPA WEMBA upped the anté when he released MZEE FULA NGENGE. A couple of months later after the official album release, he brought out a VHS - remember those? - with video clips of all the songs in the album.
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on 19 December 2014
Amazing body of work, definitely recommend!

1. Pretty Hurts 10/10
A strong opening to the album, one of the most powerful songs and videos

2. Haunted 10/10
When I first heard this I didn't like it at all. It's grown on me in time and now I think it's brilliant!

3. Drunk In Love (featuring Jay-Z) 10/10
Amazing R&B single. This is the highlight of the album in my opinion - video and single wise.

4. Blow 10/10
Super fun and sexy, must listen. Also has a very bright and fun video

5. No Angel 9/10
This is a hot track including Beyonce's falsetto tones. Enjoyable song and video

6. Partition 10/10
The Yonce half of this song has amazing bass and is so addictive, the Partition half is fierce and flawless in terms of video and song

7. Jealous 7/10
I think this is the weakest song on the album but still good and has an interesting video

8. Rocket 9/10
Rocket is sexy and has a flawless video, it grows on me with every listen

9. Mine (featuring Drake) 10/10
The production is amazing on this, Drake and Beyonce compliment each other vocally and the video is different (in a good way!!)

10. XO 10/10
This single is brilliant and is sung incredibly

11. Flawless*** (featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) 10/10
A powerful, sexy track that you'll love instantly. The speech halfway through is powerful and well thought through. The video is possibly my favourite on the album

12. Superpower (featuring Frank Ocean) 9/10
I never thought it to be that good at first but it grew on me a lot. Their vocals match really well

13. Heaven 10/10
Another beautiful ballad rumoured to be about an abortion, this is very heartfelt and lovely

14. Blue (featuring Blue Ivy Carter) 10/10
Such a sweet track in dedication to Beyonce's daughter. Brilliant video to match

PLATINUM EDITION:

1. 7/11 10/10
Amazing song, definitely worth a listen!

2. Flawless Remix (featuring Nicki Minaj) 10/10
I prefer Nicki's rapping skills to the speech in the original, great remix

3. Drunk In Love Remix (featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z) 9/10
An edgier version to the original with new features, very good

4. Ring Off 8/10
Incredibly happy and bubbly song but quite weird to hear from Beyonce!

5. Blow Remix (featuring Pharrell) 9/10
Pharrell's verse further adds to Blow making it even stronger

6. Standing On The Sun Remix (featuring Mr Vegas) 8/10
I do wish the original was included but this is still a great remix

As an entire album (and platinum edition) I'd definitely recommend for the price! The live recordings are brilliant as always, the audio is stunning and the videos are crafted carefully and precisely. Must buy!
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