• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Dec 13, 2013

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 91
    Beyoncé waited for the last moment to unveil 2013′s finest pop album. It arrived too late to enter our top ten lists, but just in time to own the year.
  2. Dec 16, 2013
    Without playing into cheap “tortured by fame” tropes, she’s made an emotional album that’s dense and substantial but never difficult or self-important.
  3. 91
    Here more than ever Bey indulges clashing impulses--between strength and escape, megapop and fresh sounds, big messages and resonant lyrics.
  4. Feb 14, 2014
    At its dizzying zenith, Beyoncé is a loaded fusion of generosity and self-empowerment. or perhaps, more accurately, it finds self-empowerment in generosity.
  5. Jan 23, 2014
    Though there are a million details about BEYONCÉ to examine--from the release strategy to the visual aspect and more--the strongest ideas are still found solely in the music. She addresses topics like beauty, body image, miscarriages, jealousy, sexuality, marriage, motherhood and self-worth.
  6. Jan 9, 2014
    Beyoncé’ is one of the best damn albums of 2013, basically, however you’re looking at it: as an R&B record, a pop set, an electro collection. Whatever your tastes, you can’t question the quality here.
  7. Dec 18, 2013
    In time, it should be seen as a career highlight from a superstar--one of the hardest-working people in the business, a new mother, in total control, at her creative and commercial peak.
  8. Dec 18, 2013
    We’re clearly listening to one of the most purely talented artists of our generation working at her peak, or at least somewhere close.
  9. Dec 17, 2013
    Beyoncé is a stronger personal statement than Magna Carta… Holy Grail, less self-indulgent than The 20/20 Experience, and (in its own way) as dark and confrontational as Yeezus.
  10. Dec 16, 2013
    It is a bold, expansive body of work that should have all the praise heaped on it because, without warning, she dropped one of the strongest albums of the year on us.
  11. Dec 16, 2013
    The result is artistic click bait, and its genius and connective power is that it doesn’t treat music fans as factions. This one is for everyone, all at once.
  12. Dec 13, 2013
    The songs are alert to the current sound of clubs and radio, but not trapped by it; the refrains are terse and direct, but what happens between them isn’t formulaic. And while Beyoncé constructed the songs with a phalanx of collaborators, they all know better than to eclipse her creamy, soulful voice.
  13. Dec 13, 2013
    Once 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.
  14. Jan 6, 2014
    Beyoncé seized the powers of a medium characterized by its short attention span to force the world to pay attention. Leave it to the posterchild of convention to brush convention aside and leave both sides feeling victorious.
  15. This is plainly Beyoncé’s most personal album yet, one forged in the fires of public miscarriages, a wrenching journey that does as much to combat this years Yeezus-led political misogyny as it complements with its own version of black empowerment and self-love, one that is staunchly, inclusively, womanist.
  16. Jan 9, 2014
    She’s this decade’s Beyoncé, grown secure and prominent as ever.
  17. Dec 30, 2013
    If there’s one thing you can take from Beyonce, it’s that you never have to feel “bored” as she describes in “Ghost.” There’s always room to innovate.
  18. Dec 16, 2013
    This is easily Beyoncé’s best album yet, a clear progression from her previous work and a musical triumph.
  19. Dec 16, 2013
    While there isn’t a chart-smashing Single Ladies or Baby Boy in the mix, the resulting 14 tracks (plus 17 videos) make her most complete album to date.
  20. 80
    There are no real bangers here, but for once that’s not a disappointment cushioned by wafty ballads. Instead the low-key, moody production throws the spotlight on the words and the images brought to play by Beyonce as serious album artist, encompassing bulimia, post-natal depression, the fears and insecurities of marriage and motherhood, and lots and lots of sex.
  21. Dec 16, 2013
    The entire team delivers on the 32-year-old singer’s ambitious aspirations. There’s an incredible stylistic range displayed within the constraints of the album’s contemplative and darkly seductive tone.
  22. Dec 16, 2013
    Beyoncé is better than good, slickly packaged, created with the best of intentions yet still comes off as a postmodern mash of hubris, sincerity and gloss. It will be a hit regardless.
  23. Dec 13, 2013
    Beyoncé's got the tour out of the way first--with this year's Mrs Carter jaunt--and released a singleless, multi-layered, head-spinning album second. Maybe she knew what she was doing after all.
  24. Dec 13, 2013
    The best surprise of all, in an autumn in which Beyoncé's closest competitors--Gaga, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus--made underperforming bids for the throne, is how thoroughly assured, immersive and substantial this album is.
  25. Dec 13, 2013
    For all its length (16 tracks) and elaborate staging (with videos for every song), the album has a focus and intensity unusual in multi-writer ensemble productions, a sense of purposefulness that holds the attention even when the songs sometimes drift off in search of a chorus.
  26. Dec 18, 2013
    The lack of universality to much of it keeps it from being the great album it wants to be, and some of the fascination seems to stem from 2013 celebrity culture obsession and speaks to the need to disappear from our own lives and become so wrapped up in the world of the rich and famous.
  27. Jan 17, 2014
    While there are songs that will work as singles, overall, this is Beyoncé at her most experimental and, yes, risky.
  28. Dec 16, 2013
    The merger of trap beats, punk defiance and feminist theory may not be destined for the top 10, but boldness like this can’t be measured by chart positions.
  29. Dec 16, 2013
    What’s exciting about the record, beyond its means of delivery, is how the music similarly blends the intimate and the extravagant.
  30. Dec 16, 2013
    For all this bravado, BEYONCÉ’s confessional moments are when you connect with it the most.... Flawed? Certainly. Boring? Never.
  31. Dec 16, 2013
    Beyoncé may have gotten "bored" with the popstar routine, as she confesses in "Ghost." But only massive hubris could have made a feat like this album possible. And Beyoncé's hubris makes the world a better, more Beyoncé-like place.
  32. Dec 16, 2013
    What makes the album significant is the fact that its creator is a bona fide superstar who, apparently, seems to care more about following her creative bliss than scoring easy hits. And it takes her (and us) to some mighty weird and exhilarating places.
  33. Mojo
    Feb 11, 2014
    It's this continued need to feed her multi-platinum beast that stops the album from being the post-modern wheeze it could have been. [Mar 2014, p.94]
  34. 60
    Musically, it's the same kind of electro R&B with which radio is already awash--in large part because it's produced by the same small coterie of hip producers, with Timbaland appearing to take the most prominent role amongst the likes of Detail, Jerome Harmon, Pharrell Williams and Ryan Tedder.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 1657 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Dec 13, 2013
    Beyoncé's self titled fifth studio album comes as a big surprise at a much needed time in music. This album is in a way a re-introductionBeyoncé's self titled fifth studio album comes as a big surprise at a much needed time in music. This album is in a way a re-introduction (even to her hardcore fan base) to the new grown woman we now know as Beyoncé. Good luck with trying to categorize or label this album in one specific genre. It is however, hands down her best effort as of yet. Sonically this album is a masterpiece and visually stunning. It emotes so much emotion it's almost tangible. In closing Beyoncé has proved yet again why she is a trendsetter and follows her rules. Full Review »
  2. Dec 13, 2013
    She has truly outdone every prior album with this work. Her work flows so effortlessly and the visual accompaniments add so much value to theShe has truly outdone every prior album with this work. Her work flows so effortlessly and the visual accompaniments add so much value to the work as a whole, nothing looks or feels forced. I hope everyone looks past their personal biases about Beyonce and let the MUSIC speak for itself. Full Review »
  3. Dec 16, 2013
    It's new Beyoncé for this time.She made a change for the game,a story with each song.She doesn't only make music,but tell a story to us thisIt's new Beyoncé for this time.She made a change for the game,a story with each song.She doesn't only make music,but tell a story to us this time.One album,whole story for her life so far.Inspiring,Fantastic,and touching my heart.Thank you,Beyoncé. Full Review »