Beyonce Releases Surprise Album via Social Media

12:32 PM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
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Korina Lopez, USA Today

On her surprise fifth studio album, which links each track to a video, Beyonce reveals more than just her amazing post-baby body and showstopper videos.

It was posted to iTunes early Friday morning with no advertising and an explanation on her Facebook page.

With 14 brand new tracks and 17 videos, it's a fully baked album, no filler remixes and re-released greatest hits. And sidestepping a promotional blitz and gimmicks, this album, titled BEYONCÉ, could be her most personal yet.

On Ghost, she seems surprisingly in touch with the 9-to-5 grind, echoing her own career frustrations, and most notably, her boredom with record labels.

Other tracks like Drunk in Love (featuring husband, Jay Z) take a darker turn from their most famous collaboration, Crazy in Love. Beyonce lowers her voice to a growl, singing about getting drunk with angry abandon.

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Pretty Hurts also shows a darker side of the singer. Beyonce may be the biggest pop star in the world and her life of glitz and glamour is well documented, but she does not often leave her thoughts vulnerable for the public. In the track, she voices the pressure of beauty and of relentless performing.

Beyonce features Drake and Frank Ocean on a couple of tracks, but the most famous guest on the album is baby Blue Ivy. Her daughter is the subject of the aptly named tracks Blue and Blue Heaven, which are sweet ballads that peek into her family life.

In each of the song's corresponding videos, both produced to look like they'd been shot with a handheld camera, Beyonce is not a scantily clad, cold and removed pop star; she's a smiling, relaxed mother. Awash in soft light and with scenes of her and Blue Ivy, the songs and videos stand in stark contrast with the harder tracks on the album.

BEYONCÉ is a feast for the eyes and the ears, and it's a revealing look at Beyonce, from Beyonce's point of view.

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