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Beyonce: Track-by-Track Review

In case you missed it, Queen Bey dropped a special surprise for her fans Friday at midnight–the highly anticipated release of her fifth album, appropriately entitled Beyonce. The Carter family affair features appearances by hubby Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy, as well as Drake and Frank Ocean.

Full disclosure, as a self-proclaimed Beyonce Stan, I may or may not be a bit biased when it comes to her music. But I will give you my honest opinion of her latest effort in this track-by-track review:

1. “Pretty Hurts”

Begins with Bey telling us her aspiration in life is to be happy. It’s a strong, feel-good opener. Where was this track when I was a pre-teen with self-esteem issues? I haven’t watched all of the videos (yet), but this one definitely brought tears to my eyes as I recalled what it was like dealing with my own body image issues.

2. “Haunted”

Starts with a younger Beyonce accepting an award, thanking her parents and, of course, her beloved H-town. In the track, she talks about hating record labels and how this album won’t sell. Only time will tell if her prophecy comes true… The unexpected dance beat in the middle of the song is a welcome surprise. I caught myself chair dancing in my living room!

3. “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay Z

What a difference 10 years make! In 2003, Bey and Jay were “Crazy in Love,” but now it appears as though they’ve gotten a bit more grown and sexy on this track. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the former, but to each her own.

4. “Blow”

This Timbaland-produced track has a groovy sound that’s easy to listen and dance to. It’s also a little risque with the refrain “I want you to turn that cherry out.” Pardon me while I blush…

5. “No Angel”

Meh, I’m not overly impressed by this one. I really don’t need to know about her wrapping her legs around Jay Z’s head. #TMI

6. “Partition”

This one makes for a fun going-out-with-the-girls pre-game song. “I sneezed on the beat and the beat got sicker.” Yes, that just happened.

7. “Jealous”

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…especially if that woman is Beyonce. Say hello to “If I Were A Boy” 2.0.

8. “Rocket”

Warning: This song is only for the grown and sexy. If you’re looking for a “special song” to surprise your significant other with a “special performance,” here you go. At this point in the album, I’m personally a little over hearing about Bey’s sex life.

9. “Mine” featuring Drake

This track is quintessential emo Drizzy with a bit of Bey mixed in, which actually works in a weird sort of way.

10. “XO”

I can see this crowd-participation song making a good encore at the Mrs. Carter World Tour, which has been extended into 2014, in case you missed the memo.

11. “***Flawless” featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

The song formerly known as “Bow Down B*tches” finds a home on Beyonce as “Flawless.” Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of the song when it first leaked earlier this year, but it’s since grown on me. Think “Run the World (Girls)” on steroids.

12. “Superpower” featuring Frank Ocean

Ocean penned “I Miss You” on Bey’s album, so it’s only right that the two collaborate on her latest release. I’m really digging this simplistic love song.

13. “Heaven”

This is just speculation, but after watching Beyonce’s HBO documentary earlier this year I can’t help but wonder if this song is in honor of the baby she lost to a miscarriage? With lyrics such as “heaven couldn’t wait for you/so go on, go home” this is definitely the most sentimental track on the album.

14. “Blue” featuring Blue Ivy Carter

This love letter to Blue Ivy featuring the toddler herself is absolutely precious!

Based on first listen, I give Beyonce a B+. But, then again, it took 4, which is my favorite Beyonce album to date, some time to grow on me as well. This collection doesn’t have a ton of the dance-friendly radio hits we’ve come to know and love from Beyonce, but it’s definitely more intimate and more adult.

Your Turn: Have you downloaded Beyonce’s newest album yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!