SHEENA BARNETT: Taking inspiration from Beyonce



No offense to my fellow Mid-South native, but I was disappointed to hear Justin Timberlake had the highest-selling album of 2013.

His albums were fun to hear, sure, but I quickly let them spin out of rotation after about a month or so.

One of my top albums for the year wasn’t so much an album as it was an experience: Beyonce’s self-titled album.

She released the full album and videos for all of the songs at midnight Dec. 13, to the surprise of the world.

It was unheard of – in these days of Instagram and Twitter, almost everything is spoiled, and I don’t know of another artist who released all the tracks and videos all at once.

It was an experience. Since then, I’ve talked with other fans and it’s become a “Where were you” kind of event.

“Where were you when you heard Beyonce had released a new album?”

Then I heard it, and saw the videos, and was thrilled – it’s her best album to date, with every single song being a complete knockout. The videos are unbelievably perfect.

The best thing about the album? It’s totally a woman’s album.

Only a fulfilled, happy, creative woman could’ve made this album, and that shines through.

She describes the pain of trying to live up to society’s standards in “Pretty Hurts.”

She sings about how she loves being a strong woman in “No Angel.”

She has a gorgeous track dedicated to her daughter, “Blue,” as well as a beautiful farewell track in “Heaven.”

The soaring “XO” is an uplifting love song.

She’s vulnerable in “Mine,” singing that she doesn’t “feel like myself since the baby,” before assuring her love for her husband.

She’s open about her sexuality and love in sexy, powerful songs like “Drunk in Love” and “Rocket.”

“Flawless” is a woman’s anthem, complete with the definition or feminist read in the middle of the track, and she repeats the empowering message: “Ladies, tell ’em, ‘I woke up like this’… We’re flawless.”

Her voice has never sounded better; her messages have never been stronger.

Like a lot of other fans, I’ve had this album on repeat since the very day it came out. It literally hasn’t left my player.

And I think that’s because, like plenty of other women, I’m trying to be a bit like Beyonce.

I wish I was that creative and full of life.

I think that’s part of her appeal: She represents all that women can be, from incredible singer and star to smart business woman to wife and mother.

Many listeners may write off “Beyonce” as a highlight in her discography, but I say it’s the highlight of the year, if not the decade.

For me, personally, it makes me want to be a better woman. I can’t think of an album that’s done that… ever.

And I think I’ll keep in mind that I, too, have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.

Sheena Barnett writes about entertainment news for the Daily Journal. Contact her at

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