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Beyonce's Controversial Visual Album 'Beyonce' Review

Beyonce Self Titled
by Beyoncé
Released Dec 13th, 2013

I don’t think anybody could have predicted that Beyoncé would release a self-titled, visual, fifth studio album exclusively on iTunes without any prior announcement or promotion. And yet, Beyoncé’s self-titled topped charts worldwide, and lead to her performing one of the album’s hits, titled ‘Drunk in Love’, at the 2014 Grammy awards, with her husband and the song’s feature artist, Jay Z.

The Grammy performance received a lot of backlash, including a heavy reaction on social media. Beyoncé came out on stage with a whole new look, including wet hair, bedroom eyes and a g-string back bodysuit for her first performance of ‘Drunk in Love’. Evidently, Bey and J’s performance offended enough viewers, and in particular feminist audiences, that a number of viewers sent in written complaints about their steamy number. Some argued that having the singer in a sheer bodysuit, writhing and spreading her legs during the sultry tune was inappropriate, and that she had become a poor role model for young girls.

Despite some controversial reviews on her revealing and explicit album, it’s unarguable that Beyoncé’s self-titled album embraces the complexities of womanhood, through the intricate mapping of the trajectory of her life. A number of songs from the visual album are prefaced with clips and sound bytes from her childhood; her life is seen as a series of competitions and pageants. Constantly, we are being reminded of the difficulty she has worked through to get to where she is today — a wife, mother, lover, high-powered businesswoman and, arguably, a queen of the music industry.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Reflecting on her latest album raises the question: does the manner in which Beyoncé decides to express herself on stage mean we should forget how audiences have always regarded her? She speaks of love, sex, marriage, domestic fights, the fear of separation, childbirth, motherhood and the interminable way in which things change in her life, and how she has had no control over such things. She confesses she has fears, insecurities and that she can be a jealous woman like any other. Is it fair that audience stop adoring her, for being open about her love and sex life?

Personally, I loved the album, and respect Beyoncé for being open truthful about her marriage, even if she is doing so with explicit language and confessions of sex. Doing so makes her more personable and real, and is also the reason I believe many fell in love with Beyoncé to begin with.

Elysia Roberts

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