Beyonce – Beyonce

justin perich beyonceBeyonce – The first of many things to compliment Beyonce Knowles’ latest record on was the genius and classiness of its release: fourteen tracks and seventeen fully-produced music videos secretly placed on iTunes without any warning or fanfare, quickly becoming the fast-selling album the music platform has ever seen. It’s true that only a mega-superstar like Bey who has spent years in the publicity machine could pull off these numbers, but the move is incredibly impressive in two ways. Firstly it show’s the amount of control the Queen exerts on her people that there would be no leaks, and secondly it shows that she is, as she’s always been, completely in step with the way the world works now. We crave the immediacy of the viral internet experience, the world changing in the blink of an eye, giving everyone something to talk about. And boy is there a lot to talk about here. From the first track, an epic groove about brains and beauty (“Pretty Hurts”) to the last, a beautiful ballad about motherhood (“Blue (feat Blue Ivy)”, the entire album keeps Beyonce’s mythic status alive while giving us personal, humanizing glances at the woman behind the mask. With a variety of high caliber featured artists like Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, and Ryan Tedder, the collection manages to meander while always feeling cohesive. Favorite tracks include the Michael Jacksonian funk groove “Blow,” the filthily explicit but impeccably rhymed “Partition,” and the soaring “XO.” There’s no doubt about it: Beyonce crowns its creator as the undisputed Queen of R&B. 5/5 stars.