Since releasing her last album, B Day [click to read], Beyonce has gotten more of our attention for her moves away from the microphone than on it. The supposed marriage to Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter [click to read], Her film roles in such movies as Dreamgirls, and other small divots of gossip in between had our attention. Her celebrity had captured our minds.
And quite the celebrity it is. For all of the information that floats around her personal life, we really don't know too much of anything. She is almost Barbie-esque; extremely beautiful, always getting our attention, but hardly saying a word. When it was revealed she would do a double album, maybe a sliver of personality would be revealed. Instead of revelation, I Am...Sasha Fierce falls in the same trap as most double albums, one falling behind the other, missing the balance of a great single disc.
Beyonce shows a future in adult contemporary music with I Am. Some may see this as a slight, but on certain songs, she shows her range. While she is heavy on concept and the production behind is more diverse, complete and sweeping, the music is as safe as can be.
The single, "If I Was a Boy" really sets the tone for I Am. The mellow production feels more soft rock than pop-synth R&B. The more sweeping vocal motions push her vocal skills more to the front. The same can be said about "Halo." She really shows the best of the pop vocals she sports. Behind driving rhythms, she belts out the glow of a partner around her.
The album is the foundation of her growing into a different woman, at least behind the soundboards. The problem with it, is she still haven't found the line that other singers such as John Mayer to massage the ballad and grab your emotion. This leaves the first disc boring.
The more up-tempo music comes with the other disc, Sasha Fierce. The album name also is the calling card of Beyonce's alter ego of the same name. Those who miss the Beyonce of "Crazy In Love" will feel at home. Gone are the ballads that display her voice, and in its place, is the dance based music that made her a Pop star.
Tracks like "Radio," "Put A Ring on It," and "Video Phone" are sure to get a party jumping, especially with the ladies. They really emphasize the bad girl in Sasha. These tracks have a sexual, materialistic, hustler trophy feeling to them lyrically. Underneath those lyrics are rhythmic bass around futuristic techno sounds to bring the single, fun-loving party hopping side out of everyone.
Hip Hop fans will notice "Diva" above all else. It follows the same formula as Lil Wayne hit "A Milli." It has the driving bass line, infectious hook The only problem is, for those who have listened to "A Milli" and its 1,000 of variations, this song has the tendency to irritate. However, It still is in position to be a hit.
I Am...Sasha Fierce would have worked so much better as an EP, instead of the double disc LP it is now. It's bloated and as her lover Jay-Z can attest, quality is better than quantity. Even so, with a double disc and two split personalities, I Am...Sasha Fierce fits the mold of the prior two albums Beyonce has released, but falls a bit short because of the filler. There is still plenty to dance too, just don't expect to dance to all of it.