What can I say about an album that dispenses kōan wisdom such as in the following?
and the most debilitating of all:
Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé’s extremely liberated alter ego, is largely absent from this album, which means there’s no other song in 4 for me to dance to (lol) except Run the World.
Hence, I couldn’t help but scrutinize her lyrics and they’re… cute. Sure, her voice has credence and grit, but those only make the album even more perplexing and camp—which means it’s interesting and in an ironic twist, worth listening to. Falling under this category are 1+1, Start Over and Best Thing I Never Had, songs which highlight the power and emotion of Beyoncé’s vocals. After all, it’s hard to make fun of an artist that sounds like she’s putting a tremendous amount of work and effort into her songs—and which sounds excellent—without being sarcastic.
This combination somehow works on all songs except for one: the Diane Warren-penned I Was Here. The moment it started with “I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time… When I leave this world, I leave no regrets,” I knew it’ll be a succession of Hallmark soundbites and I was right.
Party (featuring André 3000), which Kanye West helped write, was a disappointment, too. It was a misnomer and lacked the soul and inspiration that Lauryn Hill, or Kanye himself, would have in their ballads.
My favorite would be Love on Top, not necessarily groundbreaking, but the type that’s light and positive in a Trina Belamide kind of way (lol). The two tracks after that, Countdown and End of Time, are the most playfully produced of the bunch and which I have played incessantly in my player.
This review on the New Yorker perhaps explains Beyoncé’s new album that’s not quite Adele or Lady Gaga, but her own.