Beyoncé Bares Just A Little Piece Of Her Soul

Our look at the closing lines of the biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to I Am… Sasha Fierce, the new double-CD, double-personality album by Beyoncé:

• “In the end, neither Beyoncé personality gets fully developed here. I Am… Sasha Fierce is supposed to be a declaration, but it sounds more like I Am… Not Sure.” [Newsday]

• “I Am… Sasha Fierce is ultimately a more focused and less schizophrenic ride than the hype might lead you to believe, especially on the shorter standard version. And if you don’t really feel like you know this distant superstar any better when you’re done, at least it’s enjoyable spending time an hour with her, in any and all of her personas.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

• “So consider I Am….Sasha Fierce Beyoncé’s Obama album. Through it, she is imagining a pop sound that doesn’t foreground race, but which still respects its roots in the black community. She’s not there yet, but the effort is fascinating, and hopefully she will keep on this path. After all, the Obama that Beyoncé invokes with the name of her alter ego is still only a child.” [LAT]

• “The collection might have been better served had she edited it down to one disc, rather than belabor what ultimately seems like a marketing gimmick. And while fans will surely speculate, there’s little in the lyrics that feels more revealing than previous emotional fire-starters such as 2006’s ‘Ring the Alarm.’ But who said we had a right to that, anyway? For all the pop-fantastic satisfaction that Beyoncé the entertainer provides, the public can surely reward her by leaving Beyoncé the private citizen well enough alone.” [EW]

• “Almost equally weird, but much better, is ‘Video Phone,’ which introduces us to the unlikely figure of Beyoncé Knowles, amateur pornographer: ‘You want me naked? If you like this position you can tape it.’ She doesn’t make for the world’s most believable Reader’s Wife, but it doesn’t matter, because the spare, eerie backdrop of groans and echoing electronics is so thrilling. There’s a lesson in there you wish she had heeded while making the ostensibly soul-baring I Am…: in pop, honesty isn’t always the best policy.” [Guardian]