Everything BeyoncéKnowles, Sasha Fierce, Mrs. Carter, whatever you want to call her, has represented and spoken about in the past – female empowerment, self-empowerment, sexiness, class, groove – all coalesce righteously on BeyoncО.

Without the visual accompaniments, I think the minimalist grandeur, brazenly honest lyricism and hush-hush leak-proof global release has to be commended. But couple that with the fact that every minute of this album has been synchronised with its own filmic depiction, and we have a behemoth of modern commercial music, full stop. We now live in a post-BeyoncО world. If you think I’m being overzealous, you haven’t listened to this album. And if you have: you haven’twatchedthis album.

From the opening track ‘Pretty Hurts’, with its sampling of BeyoncО herself (playing a mock beauty pageant contestant, Miss 3rd Ward) stating her aspiration in life is simply “to be happy”, we’re given the warning that though we might be along for the ride, this is a body of work made for one person.

Look out for a stellar appearance from both husband Jay-Z in the epic ‘Drunk In Love’(spitting gems like “We sex again in the morning / Your breasts is my breakfast”) and young daughter Ivy Blue in the aptly titled ‘Blue’, closing out the album proper with a cute-as-pie refrain. If you thought BeyoncО was a powerful force before, prepare to shut up, bow down and be humbled yet again.

5/5 stars

Beyoncé is out now on Sony.

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