A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beyonce's self-titled album is a stunning and powerful artistic expression. Embracing her status as a sex symbol and global icon, Queen B lets fans see an intimate, self-critical side of herself that reveals an authentic and grateful superstar at the peak of her powers. By addressing her own demons of jealousy, her body consciousness, and her humble origins, she challenges the public perception of her "perfect" life and pop-star privilege. Although there's barely any explicit language, many songs are bursting with seductive metaphors and words such as "cherry," "blow," and "rocket," which are all not-so-subtle double entendres. The clean version easily covers up the few instances of explicit language, which include "bitch," "s--t," and "f--ked." The music videos that accompany the entire album are hot and heavy, featuring a writhing and scantily clad Beyonce and backup dancers gyrating suggestively in almost every sequence.
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What's the story?
BEYONCE is the self-titled new studio album from former Destiny's Child star Beyonce Knowles. Announced and released unexpectedly on the same day, Beyonce is also a visual album, with 17 videos accompanying the 14 official tracks. The record features collaborations with Drake, Justin Timberlake, and husband Jay-Z, as well as production from go-to hit-makers such as Timbaland and Pharrell Williams. There's a basic underlying plot following a pageant queen watching her dreams come true, which mirrors many elements of the star's own life and career path. There's even a cameo from the newest addition to the Carter family, B's daughter Blue Ivy.
Is it any good?
Beyonce has always been a gifted vocalist with a pop-savvy style, but she has taken her creativity to new heights with this effort. The beats are consistently crisp and fresh, drawing equally from hip-hop, electro-pop, and vintage R&B influences. The lyrics are confessional and relatable, and the videos are provocative and visually stimulating. From the beautiful and emotional "Pretty Hurts" to the lusty and bubbly disco number "Blow" to the epic ballad "Jealous," Beyonce is stacked top to bottom with catchy tunes and powerful imagery.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the unique way in which Beyonce released her album (unannounced and with 17 accompanying music videos). How has the Internet changed the way artists and record labels approach distribution and marketing?
Beyonce directly addresses the expectations of perfection she has faced her whole life, including multiple allusions to eating disorders in the music video for "Pretty Hurts." Do you think it's important for famous women to use their platform to start a conversation on this delicate issue?
This album is filled with references to Beyonce's personal life and even includes home video footage of her as a little girl. Why do you think this larger-than-life celebrity wanted to give her fans a window into her past and present realities?