Beyoncé releases a visual album, and the world explodes

Daniel Wren

I woke up for no real reason at half 5 this morning. Couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to scroll through Facebook. Beyoncé updated: Beyoncé – The Visual Album. “Ah, cool,” I thought, “she’s releasing a compilation of all her videos.”






No but really, she has just trumped all her competition in a second. Not merely for the fact that the music, production and her voice are incredible (as per) and shines LIGHT YEARS above other pop releases this year (hey Katy Perry) but she’s prevented any leaks of this album that plagued her previous effort, 4, two years ago. She’s created an instant media storm with the surprise move that’s bound to propel the album to the top of all charts and by not participating in a press tour or creating hype, there’s no chance for critics or fan bases to create a negative atmosphere around the album, eliminating bias when people listen to the album and letting them just enjoy the (incredible) album. Plus visuals to every track, she’s just spoiling us. She’s clearly done some sort of deal with Apple too as the album is labelled as ‘Mastered for iTunes’ and she’s ALL OVER the home page and got another week of promotion through iTunes. She’s just fucking owning everything. It’s so unexpected, new, exciting and OH MY GOD IT’S BEYONCÉ. It feels like a special early Christmas present straight from Beyoncé to us.

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The actual album? I’ve had it on repeat since half 5 and I’m still completely AHHHHH. I was a bit nervous after 4 that she might return to something more easily digestible to a larger audience, like Sasha Fierce and I’m hanging my head in shame for that slight moment of doubt. It’s a natural evolution from 4 and feels more like music Beyoncé just wants to make than ever before, not giving a f*ck if the radio will play it or if there’ll be a hit single. She even states in Haunted: “I probably won’t make no money off this, oh well.” I tend to find it so much more rewarding when artists just make a personal album with disregard to what’s popular at the moment and with Beyoncé it’s just… incredible.

The introductions to songs, with clips from her childhood and literal social commentaries explicitly tell the reader this is HER album, HER stories and HER opinions. Her typical ‘feminist’ anthems have more depth this time round, with Pretty Hurts introduction and the clips of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speeches included in ***Flawless worked in to utilise her platform as Queen to, in the latter’s case, give a vicious middle finger to the pressures society puts on women to be their expectations of ‘feminine’.

There’s more raunch to this album than seen in her previous works. I’m remembering how slightly cringe Video Phone was, whereas Blow looks worryingly to repeat this if you look at the lyrics alone, but she isn’t working to sell here so it doesn’t feel as try-hard or awkward and achieves its goal easily. That attitude is repeated throughout the album, which is what makes it work. When she’s giving her attitude, in Jealous (holla for the Freakum Dress reference) or Partition, it isn’t thrown through the typical processes to make her sound flawless and it sounds real and you can hear her artistic statement, not her production team (hey Britney).

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Again, when she’s being vulnerable and raw, namely Heaven and Blue it feels natural and just coming from her so it works so much better than these other pop bitches because she’s just making what she wants to, not something to sell. And Blue saying: “hold onto me mommy mommy mommy,” at the end makes me well up every time. She’s doing her own thing, in her own way, her own lane, her own game. She’s not doing a Gaga and saying: “I’m releasing a track every week to show the scope of the album,” where what she actually means is she’s just trying to sell more. She’s not doing a Katy Perry and claiming the album to be vulnerable yet actually showing as much personality as a nail clipping. She’s not doing a Miley Cyrus and being predictable just to sell. She’s not doing a Britney and claiming the album to be “her most personal” ever and not actually writing the songs. She’s just doing a Beyoncé and just putting out her art, visually and musically, letting it speak for itself and stand alone.

It encompasses everything that Beyoncé represents flawlessly. Sass, emotion, voice, love, female empowerment, sexuality. It’s just her, in an album, connecting to her fans. She’s not bent to some management schedule, she’s thrown out the rulebook and put out what she wanted and it works SO much better than these bitches trying so hard to sell. She’s just eclipsed every other album this year in a second and produced the best album of 2013. This album and its release is so important to music and I’m so glad it was Beyoncé to make this move. I love her like XO.

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Don’t get it twisted, this is her shit, bow down bitches.








Drunk in Love


Pretty Hurts





No Angel



So XO is 5 stars and Superpower is 4.9 stars.


Buy it for yourself at

About Daniel Wren

Vada Magazine staff writer. Interested in travel, news, politics and dating.

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