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It might be Christmas in 12 days time but for Beyonce fans, Christmas has come early this year. We could say that Beyonce is like Santa in this case.

Beyonce unexpectedly released a new self titled album on iTunes worldwide this morning. No promo, no interviews – nothing. Simply dropped the album out for everyone to buy and hear.

The album is a visual album where each track comes with a music video. This could potentially be the first time ever this has been done??

The videos were filmed throughout 2013 in several locations around the world, including: Houston, New York City, Paris, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro.

The album features collaborations from Jay-Z, Drake, Frank Ocean, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and her daughter Blue Ivy.

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Track by track review

Pretty Hurts

Beyonce starts off the album with a personal speech about her aspiration in life is to be happy. The track is instant power as soon as it gets to just over a minute. You can just imagine this song live and it being a killer performance every night on her tour. 9/10

Haunted

The speech at the beginning is really cute from when Beyonce was a child. The production of this is insane and is something we’ve never heard Beyonce do before. She’s definitely giving us something different on this record. 9/10

Drunk in Love

The beginning is very soft and smooth and the clicking is very old school R&B. We then hear Bey rap as the production becomes really consistent and we get to hear Jay-Z on the track – bonus! 7/10

Blow

Very signature Beyonce. This track would have fitted in with the 4 era very well. Its very funky and soulful. The lyrics are very sassy and cheeky with Beyonce getting a lil’ raunchy. 9/10

No Angel

It goes without saying that the production on all tracks are really good, but this one so far is knocking the rest out the park. The vocals are amazing, it kind of reminds me of a Prince track which is a huge compliment. 8/10

Partition 

The beat is contagious and there is always that track where you think ‘love at first listen’ and this is exactly that. 8/10

Jealous

She gets very personal on this one where you wonder what the track is really about. The song really pulls you in. The track is very single material with it having a way of connecting with you. 9/10

Rocket

Beyonce going back to her R&B roots. Sounds like something Frank Ocean might have written for her. 6 minutes of the track is a little too long on first listen though. 4 minutes would have made the song not sound so lengthened out. 7/10

Mine

Bey collaborates with Drake on this one and the instrumental sounds like a Drake outtake that was supposed to be on his latest album but he needed Bey to complete the track. This is a good thing. The track is instantly a favourite on the album – it has so much freshness. 9/10

XO

An obvious stand out on the album. One of the best productions on the album. Another single worthy track. 9/10

***Flawless

At the beginning of the track we have already heard the demo of the song this year called Bow Down and even though a lot of people were disappointed and didn’t like it at all, the completed finished version sounds a lot better. The speech in the middle is really great but the end half is a little pointless and random. 6/10

Superpower

Beyonce and Frank Ocean’s voices really work well together. They have such soul and power. The ‘do do do do’ in the background is really cute. 8/10

Heaven

The passion and emotion in this makes the track so touching. The track is very personal to Beyonce, you can tell instantly. A very beautiful ballad from Beyonce. Another favourite. 9/10

Blue

Named after her daughter, oh and she’s featured on the track too!! The Blue Ivy bits at the end are real cute and a special moment for Bey. 7/10

Overall album rating: 9/10

Key Tracks: Pretty Hurts, Blow, Jealous, Mine, XO, Heaven

So the fact that Beyonce released a new album in the first place is a big deal, but to make a visual album and be so ahead of the game is something else. Beyonce, who is criticised a lot for being very predictable a lot of the time has totally stepped out of her comfort zone with this album campaign. In years to come I’m sure there will be other musicians doing the whole visual album concept that Beyonce did first. Also releasing the album straight on iTunes worldwide is something labels and artists really need to take note of.

The album see’s Beyonce experiment with a new sound as well as her signature old school sound of R&B and soul. The album is very fresh and sounds like no other. Beyonce is a trendsetter and is on her way to become a bigger superstar than she already was.

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