Beyoncé, like for many, was always kind of a figure in my life as I grew up. I have two older sisters so I kind of grew up with a mixture of music I listened to and music they listened to. First and foremost, Destiny’s Child seemed to be on a lot (specifically Independent Woman Prt. 1, Jumpin Jumpin and Say My Name), and that followed with a good amount of Beyoncé. Eventually Bey kind of became someone I would listen to on my own a lot. I’ll never forget when Deja Vu was released, there was something about the beat and the groove in that song that made my little self wanna get up and dance. Then eventually Irreplaceable was on constantly, and as time moved on it would be Single Ladies or If I Were a Boy…she was playing throughout my childhood pretty much.
And to this day I still love her music. When the self titled album came out a few years ago me and my friend just listened to it on a loop and drove around until those lyrics and those beats were crammed into our heads. I did the same with Lemonade when it came out a few months ago, I just couldn’t get enough. So on this day, the birthday or “B’day” of Beyoncé, I thought maybe it would be fun to venture through the works of the Queen B herself! I’ve listened to all 6 albums many times and gladly listened to many of them today. They’ve explored different styles (especially Lemonade), and have managed to all be distinct and interesting. So here’s a happy bday to Bey and here we go!
With songs like Disappear and If I Were a Boy, Sasha Fierce took more of a pop route versus B’day’s upbeat R&B style. With this album we get two sides; the first being a calmer more ballad heavy side and the second being a sassier more upbeat one. While I do enjoy this album I think it has some of bey’s weakest and cheesiest (Hello, Radio) tracks to date. But it does have some standouts like Sweet Dreams and Halo. It’s not her best work but it’s definitely not horrible.
Like I said before, when this album came out I listened to it non stop..and I’m pretty sure I still know all the words to each song. This was definitely a change of pace for Bey with randomly dropping the album on a certain unannounced date and having a video for every song. I’ll never forget going online seeing this was released and going on iTunes just being so confused. At that point with an artist like Beyoncé you didn’t expect her to just randomly drop a whole album out of nowhere, but either way it worked. Highlights for me would definitely have to be Pretty Hurts, Haunted and Partition. The weakest points are probably with songs like No Angel or even Drunk in Love…I know it’s an unpopular opinion but over time I’ve found it to be weak, especially compared to her strongest efforts. I think self titled is a strong piece of work but it’s still not as high on the list compared to the rest.
As an R&B album alone this is fantastic, but as a solo debut it’s outstanding. Songs like Crazy in Love and Me, Myself & I show that this album has a timeless quality to it I like any other Beyoncé album. Sure, maybe tracks like Signs or Speechless aren’t my favorite but it’s only because they get out shined by others like Naughty Girl, Dangerously in Love 2 and Be With You. Coming from Destiny’s Child, this was the album that showed Beyoncé could shine in her own light, and it still holds up beautifully.
This is the album that screams soulful bey to me. You get some passionate love in 1+1, some sorrow with I Miss You, a little upbeat neo soul with Party and some true Diana Ross/Whitney Houston inspiration in Love On Top. Like Lemonade, 4 feels like a very experimental Beyoncé album that is refreshing because while I do love Crazy in Love and Single Ladies, it’s nice to hear a change of pace here and there.
Change of pace maybe not all the way but definitely raised the bar higher. Now if anyone remembers, this is actually the first visual album Beyoncé put out. The self titled may have been the one to do it more publicly and with the album, but B’Day had a separate DVD you could buy that had a video for each song. B’Day is that Beyoncé album that you just wanna dance through with pretty much every song. There are a few ballads here and there, but mostly it’s big loud numbers throughout. Green Light, Ring the Alarm, Get Me Bodied and Deja Vu are probably some of my favorites but others like Freakum Dress, Suga Mama and Resentment are also worth a mention. If there is a song that I don’t exactly love it’s probably Flaws and All, but like any Beyoncé song/album, I don’t hate it I just don’t love it as much as the others. Through and through I think B’Day is one of Beyoncé’s funnest albums to date.
It was really hard for me to decided whether I not I should put this or B’Day first. They’re both so good that I considering doing a tie, it was that hard for me!!! Ultimately though, I came to the decision that as a full album goes, this is Beyoncé’s strongest effort to date. I think it’s maybe the first to have clear story and obvious motivation throughout the album. Each song blends together like the one big movie it was originally presented as and it makes for a harsh, beautiful and heartbreaking experience. We get the always welcome tough/angry Bey in Hold Up, Don’t Hurt Yourself and Sorry. We get some experimental tracks with the wonderful Daddy Lessons and Love Drought. Then we get probably some of the best “ballads” (if you can even call them that), from her with Pray You Catch Me and Sandcastles. One that really always stands out to me is Freedom which features Kendrick Lamar and has this invincible feeling to it that never gets old. Lemonade, to me, is Beyoncé’s best album, it gives us so many emotions and different visions throughout that it’s hard to ignore.
Well that about sums it up! Let’s hope that Bey will keep on coming out with some classic albums, and look out for the next upcoming post!