I'm not a clairvoyant or anything near the sort but Tuesday night, I walked away from Beyoncé's latest show at Toyota Center with the following idea in my head, "a Beyoncé live show reinforces sexuality and freedom above anything else."
That was about the show. I should have realized I was talking about the woman who performs in said show even more.
Thursday night, Beyoncé confirmed my opinion and then some. Through a single announcement on Facebook, the singer released a self-titled album, 14 new songs, 18 videos (there are 30 second previews to each on her YouTube channel) to accompany them and completely caught the world off guard. According to Billboard, it sold more than 80,000 copies (and counting) three hours after its release.
Some of the collaborators on the album are familiar (husband Jay Z, The-Dream, Ryan Tedder), others are getting their first placement on a Bey record (Miguel for co-penning "Rocket", Drake on "Mine") but all of it seems sensual, free -- and unexpected.
Even her own label, Columbia, has been cryptic in releasing information regarding the new album, only saying they'd been satisfied with "a few songs" and that she "might" put out an album. But her power to continue shocking the world shows that for all the hoopla Jay Z created with his Samsung deal and letting Magna Carta Holy Grail appear first on mobile devices, his wife has outdone him in far more spectacular fashion.
"It's about the music," she said in her Facebook post titled "Self Titled, Part 1." "It's more than just what I hear. When I'm connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they're all connected to the music."
Immediate reaction to the album sounded more like women removing their bras and burning them via social networking. Whatever thoughts they may have had about holding in any inhibitions in the bedroom or with their partners vanished in the middle of the night. If R. Kelly's antics in the bedroom are more about what he will do in graphic detail, Beyoncé's thoughts and motivations here dig deeper into issues of power and control, with little subtlety.
Story continues on the next page.
But power has been a Beyoncé calling card ever since she and Destiny's Child shook their heads at their men in 1997. On songs such as "Partition" and "Drunk In Love" (feat. Jay Z), never has her love life been spoken on with such detail. The intimacy and once-perceived private moments are laid out in detail.
"I get filthy when that liquor gets into me," she lays out on "Drunk In Love" and proceeds to detail very astutely how Jay, well, delivers. Critics are going to dive into boilerplate conversation starters with sentiments as, "did motherhood make Beyoncé this free?" "Is her being married finally unlocking a key for women's sex lives with their own husbands?" and truly not even have an answer for any of it.
Which is exactly what she wants.
"I felt like, I don't want anybody to get the message, when my record is coming out," she said in the Facebook post. "I just want this to come out when it's ready and from me to my fans."
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism