Billboard - "[O]nce the initial novelty and shock wears off of Beyoncé's impressive stealth-release feat, the brilliance and creative audacity of the album itself can sink in."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "There are thrilling moments...[with] spoken-word segments and a leftist R&B backdrop."
Paste (magazine) - "[With] wonderfully adventurous and of-the-moment sonics..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "The album is brassy but elegant....It finds Beyoncé shifting gears to pull off her most explicit and sonically experimental music to date, exploring sounds and ideas at the grittier margins of popular music."
Beyoncé wasn't exactly quiet during the first 11 months of 2013 -- new songs trickled out, and she appeared on albums by from the-Dream, Kelly Rowland, and husband Jay-Z -- but the December 13 release of her fifth album was a surprise. It contains the elegant ballads "Rocket" and "Heaven," the low-slung and playfully risqué boogie of "Blow," and a new version of it as well "Bow Down" (titled "***Flawless," with a guest appearance from writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). Beyoncé co-wrote and co-produced the majority of the material along with the likes of Hit-Boy, Pharrell, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and Miguel. ~ Andy Kellman
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- Super Couple (Jay-Z)