This might be a curveball to ya'll... but I actually really like Beyoncé's music. Okay, not all of it... but when she is on her game, she is brilliant. And her voice absolutely DESTROYS other artists that you might lump her in with (mistakenly) such as Shakira, Gaga, Rihanna, Brittney, Nicole Scherzinger or Katy Perry. Why do I name those artists? Well, they're sex symbols of our generation (and Scherzinger's on the "X Factor" so I think that's why her face popped into my head). And they're all pretty HUGE pop stars. No doubt. But do they have Beyoncé's heart or pipes? Hell no. So if you haven't given delving into Beyoncé's solo career much of a chance before, here's your opportunity. Because she is more than her ear-worming smash hits or the "Bootylicious" video that branded her (I would actually argue that it is because she did become a "brand" that it became easier for many of us to dismiss as an artist). In truth, Beyoncé is a pure, unique talent. And, what might be even more surprising to those out of the know, she has consistently put out very good ALBUMS. I would give three-out-of-four at least a B+ (her third, Sasha Fierce, is the only one that I don't care for... pretty inconsistent, so it wouldn't make the grade by me).
Beyoncé's latest album (4) is a bit of anomaly. She has released four singles off of it so far (on the radio) -- “Run the World (Girls)”, “Best Thing I Never Had”, “Countdown”, and “Party" -- and I don't really care for any of them (so they're not on this mixtape). In fact, I think that these four songs misrepresent where Beyoncé is as a person now. She is pregnant after all. These aforementioned songs are juvenile (which makes them good radio songs I suppose). But when B's on her grown-up shit, she is so sultry, smart and sweet. "1+1" is a flat-out brilliant song... and I can't imagine anyone EXCEPT Beyoncé being able to pull it off (maybe Whitney circa '92).
With all of those plaudits said, some music works better for me in a short-form small dose versus long-form. Beyoncé's latest album falls into that category. So I cut it down to seven songs (note the EP in "rEProduction"). In fact, this mixtape is shorter than 30 minutes long. So there's no excuse to not give it a chance -- if you're worried that even listening is going to ruin yr "indie coolness cred" :) -- but I must say (as you can see from the mixtape title) this is bedroom music more than anything. That said, I don't want to misrepresent this as a str8-up "getting freaky" mix. In looking at relationships, it's equal parts questioning and certainty. It's intimate. And yeah, actually... the last track on this mix IS str8-up freaky.
Anyway, I hope that you enjoy this one and that it works to push those of you who have had a pre-existing Beyoncé stigma. Now I'm curious to see what kind of music she comes out with AFTER she has a baby.
Speaking of which, one reason that I put a steamy R&B mixtape out this week is because so many of our friends are pregnant, just had babies, or thinking about having babies. So yay on you guys!
We're happy with our dog for now.
Here is the tracklist for Beyoncé - “Fo(u)r rEProduction (a misshapedmixtape)” [you can find the download link in the “comments”]
01 : 1+1
02 : I Care
03 : I Miss You
04 : Start Over
05 : I Was Here
06 : Rather Die Young
07 : Dance For You