Beyonce’s ‘Beyonce (Platinum Edition)’: Album Review

On December 13, 2013 Beyonce casually dropped her self-titled, visual album in the middle of the night and changed the way music was promoted forever. Cut to (almost) a year later and the term “doing a Beyonce” (ie. opting for a surprise release) is part of the industry’s vernacular and the LP is a double platinum, critically-lauded success. To commemorate the game-changing event’s one-year anniversary, Queen Bey is releasing a four-disc box set — complete with new material and a DVD of performances from The Mrs. Carter Show world tour.

You can read my review of Bey’s game-changing visual album here — in short, it’s a flawless masterpiece — but is the reissue a worthy companion? The answer depends on your level of devotion to Beyonce. As a card carrying member of The Hive, I think the Platinum Edition is a gift from the gods. For the more casual fan, it might be better to simply download the tracks you like on iTunes because there is a bit of filler. For starters, the “Blow” remix featuring Pharrell is borderline unlistenable (“I’m a milkman at your door” could be the worst lyric/euphemism of 2014) and Mr. Vegas‘ reggae overhaul of the gorgeous “Standing On The Sun” has been online for over a year.

Happily, the rest of the new stuff is great. There’s the Nicki Minaj-assisted remix of “***Flawless”, which has been on high rotation at urban radio since Beyonce randomly threw it on SoundCloud a couple of months. Their overhaul isn’t an improvement on the original but it’s a rowdy banger that will, no doubt, remain a party staple well into 2015. The same goes for the new version of “Drunk In Love”. Kanye West‘s pornographic verse is hard to swallow (bad choice of words) but it’s pretty hard to beat as far as ratchet bedroom anthems go.

And then there are the two new tracks. If breaking the internet was actually possible, “7/11” would have done it when the amazing DIY video dropped on Friday (November 20). That visual was enough to turn the tide on a song that was initially written off by many fans and critics. The Detail-produced jam is already top 5 on iTunes and exploding at urban radio. At this rate, it could turn out to be the biggest hit from this entire era. And it would be well-deserved. What other song effortlessly takes you through a drinking game — Sevens, Elevens and Doubles (that explains the title) — and manages to be ruthlessly catchy without having a chorus? “7/11” is as innovative as it is euphoric.

That leaves us with “Ring Off”, which is possibly the most personal song the notoriously-private diva has ever released. Bey takes us through her parents’ break-up, giving a detailed account of her mother’s pain and rebirth. (Anybody who saw Tina Knowles at Solange‘s wedding knows that she is better off). It’s a fairly specific subject matter but still has universal appeal thanks to the message that life does, in fact, go on. “Ring Off” is a little sappy but my iPod is a better place since its arrival. The same goes for the rest of the Platinum Edition.

Possible Future Singles: I don’t think there will be any singles after “7/11”.

Best Listened To: With a red cup in your hand.

Idolator Score: 4/5

Mike Wass

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