Valentine’s Day: Ten lovely current love songs

Mariah Carey You're Mine Eternal cover

It’s that time of the year again! It’s Valentine’s Day! A romantic day for some couples, a nightmare for some single people out there, but either way it is a good excuse to listen to some great songs about love! I collected ten lovely current love songs for you to enjoy during a romantic date or a night alone.

10. Mariah Carey – You’re Mine (Eternal)
If there is one lady who knows all about all kinds of love songs, it’s Mariah Carey. She performed lots of songs about break-ups and heartache, for example ‘Without You’, ‘We Belong Togeter’ and the recent ‘The Art Of Letting Go’, but she also recorded tons of happy love songs like ‘Always Be My Baby’, ‘Dreamlover’ and ‘#Beautiful (feat. Miguel)’. Now she is back with a song, especially released for Valentine’s Day, called ‘You’re Mine (Eternal)’. It is a traditional R&B ballad which suits Mariah perfectly. The great thing about a Mariah ballad is that you know that there is a huge note about to come in the last chorus and when that moment finally happens, I am a happy man!

09. Annalisa – Tutto Sommato
A song in the lovely Italian language could not be excluded from this list. Annalisa’s ‘Tutto Sommato’ was recently used in the Dutch movie De Toscaanse Bruiloft (The Tuscan Wedding) and it is a very catchy and infectious little track. The upbeat and feelgood vibe of the song matches perfectly with the movie and it instantly gives you butterflies. Annalisa sings that love gives her life and that is exactly what we need to hear today!

08. Miguel – Adorn (feat. Jessie Ware)
Of course duets are probably the most romantic form of songs. Especially the smooth and sweet R&B kind. When making this list, I found out Miguel is a master in this craft. He recorded the lovely ballads ‘PrimeTime’ and ‘#Beautiful’ with Janelle Monáe and Mariah Carey, but he also re-recorded one of his own tracks to make it into a duet. He invited Jessie Ware to add her vocals to his biggest single to date, ‘Adorn’. The result is smooth, sweet and sexy.

07. Coldplay – Atlas
Although Coldplay’s ‘Atlas’ is not really a love song in the most traditional sense, it is one gorgeous track that deserves every recognition it could get. It was featured on the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which worked surprisingly well. But let’s be fair, did anybody every tell you something more romantic than: ‘I’ll carry your world and all your hurt’. No exactly, that is what I thought!

06. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Young Blood
Sophie Ellis-Bextor is back with her new album Wanderlust, that performs pretty well in the UK charts as it already stayed in the album top 10 for three weeks. The leadsingle ‘Young Blood’ is an exceptionally romantic song about growing old together but never losing the feeling of youth, because the other keeps you young. Other than the beautiful lyrics, the song itself sounds sweet and lovely and we hear a whole different side of Sophie’s gorgeous vocals.

05. Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You
Ellie Goulding and her wonderful cover of ‘How Long Will I Love You’ absolutely deserves a place in this list. The lyrics could not be anymore romantic and Goulding’s delivery with her soft and cute voice take this to a whole other level. One could say the song sounds kind of cheesy, but I would like to disagree, because she made this song completely her own and managed to keep the honest sound. And even if it is a little cheesy, it is Valentine’s Day!

04. Beyoncé – Drunk In Love (feat. Jay-Z)
Who said Valentine’s Day always needs to be about romantic things? For Beyoncé and Jay-Z it is probably another hot, steamy and passionate day at their office full of surfboarding and waking up in the kitchen wondering what happened before. And why wouldn’t they? After the fancy dinner by candle light, you might take your date home and that is the point where the sensual and sexy ‘Drunk In Love’ could be helpful as a soundtrack…

03. Clean Bandit – Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)
‘As long as I am with you, there is no place I’d rather be.’ That is quite a romantic statement. And when this statement is packed in such a swinging and catchy track, it is not a surprise that this song performs so exceptionally well. Clean Bandit already charted three weeks on number 1 in the UK and they are coming to take over the rest of Europe and probably the rest of the world. What a tune!

02. Miley Cyrus – Adore You
Who would have thought that the controversial popstar who shocked the world with her twerking to her own track ‘We Can’t Stop’ and riding a wrecking ball naked, would follow those releases up with a stunning ballad about love, called ‘Adore You’. Of course the accompanying video had to be a little naughty, but the song itself is beautiful and Miley’s voice does it absolute justice. Absolutely one of the most beautiful, honest and heartfelt love songs released in the last couple of months.

01. John Legend – All Of Me
I honestly could not think of a song that is more romantic and full of love than John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’. In The Netherlands this song has been a huge hit for quite some time now and I would expect the rest of the world to follow sooner or later. ‘Cause all of me, loves all of you.’ This song just screams to be played at weddings! Melodically the moment he sings ‘my head’s underwater, but I’m breathing fine’ is gorgeous. If this song does not give you Valentine’s Day vibes, I don’t know what will!

The best pop albums of 2013

Because it is almost the end of the year, I will present you some lists of the best things that happened in pop music in 2013. Today, it is time for the list of the 20 best pop albums released in 2013. Let’s have a look!

20. Bastille – Bad Blood
Bastille Bad Blood
Bastille is one of the most exciting new acts that broke through this year. Bad Blood is a great record with a distinctive sound, mostly because of the singer Dan’s warm vocal style. ‘Pompeii’, ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and ‘Laura Palmer’ are all brilliant songs with a great production and instrumentation. Impressive debut!

19. Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest
sara-bareilles the blessed unrest
A deserved Grammy nomination for this one. Sara Bareilles released an impressive album with amazing songs like ‘Brave’, ‘Hercules’, ‘Cassiopeia’ and the gorgeous ballad ‘Islands’. Sara always released good albums, but it feels like this time, everything is even a little better and this style fits her completely.

18. Marco Mengoni – #ProntoACorrere
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Marco Mengoni represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest with the wonderful ballad ‘L’Essenziale’. On his album, he shows he also sounds great on up tempo pop songs like ‘Non Me Ne Accorgo’ and the title track. His voice is amazing and the hooks on the tracks are extremely catchy. No wonder this was one of the most successful albums of the year in Italy.

17. Emmelie De Forest – Only Teardrops
Emmelie-de-Forest-Only-Teardrops
The Danish Emmelie De Forest won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, but ‘Only Teardrops’ was not the only good song she put out this year. Her debut album was full of good pop tracks in the same style as her Eurovision song. She shows she is more than a one hit wonder with this album and I hope we will get to enjoy more of her music in the next few years.

16. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days
Ellie-Goulding-Halcyon-Days
Ellie Goulding came up with a re-release of her brilliant album Halcyon, now called Halcyon Days. She had huge hits with ‘Burn’ and ‘How Long Will I Love You?’ and the other tracks on this new version are great too. It is not the best collection she released so far (how could she ever top Halcyon?), but still she once again managed to put out wonderful songs like ‘Hearts Without Chains’ and ‘You, My Everything’.

15. Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady
theelectriclady
Janelle Monáe’s eclectic mix of R&B, soul, pop, funk, hip-hop and more, delivered us some amazing songs on her debut record The ArchAndroid. Her second effort does not disappoint with some of the best songs in her career so far, like the beautiful duet ‘PrimeTime’ with Miguel. The album has great variation but still feels like an extremely cohesive work of art. Janelle Monáe never disappoints.

14. Natalia Kills – Trouble
KillsTrouble
Natalia Kills came back with a surprisingly strong second album. Where her first record was quite hit and miss, Trouble is a more cohesive body of work with a higher quality of songs throughout the album. From the emotional ‘Saturday Night’ to the bonkers ‘Rabbit Hole’, Natalia Kills impressed with a great collection of strong pop songs.

13. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
AlunaGeorge-Body-Music-2013
AlunaGeorge was one of the most promising new acts this year and they absolutely delivered with their album. Their electronic style with Aluna’s distinctive vocals are immediately recognizable. Their singles ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ and ‘Attracting Flies’ are the best songs on the album, but almost every track has a memorable chorus and a great production.

12. Anouk – Sad Singalong Songs
Anouk Sad Singalong Songs
Dutch singer Anouk left rock music behind for a bit and made an orchestral album full of beautiful ballads. She represented the Netherlands at Eurovision with the gorgeous ‘Birds’ and songs like ‘Kill’, ‘Stardust’ and ‘The Good Life’ all have that same cinematic and captivating quality. The lyrics are heartfelt and personal and Anouk’s voice sounds better than ever.

11. Icona Pop – This Is…
IconaPopThisis
These Swedish girls had an enormous hit with the amazing single ‘I Love It’, but they showed they have more to give with their album. Their music is a bouncing mix of pop, electro and dance and literally every track has a huge chorus with a great hook. Absolutely one of the best and catchiest releases of the year.

10. Diana Vickers – Music To Make Boys Cry
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Diana Vickers took some years to record her second album, but it was definitely worth the wait. She changed her style a bit and focuses more on electro pop these days. Music To Make Boys Cry is a cute little record with a handful strong pop songs with great hooks and memorable choruses. The title track, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Boy In Paris’ and ‘Dead Heat’ should have all been hit singles.

09. Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
lady gaga artpop cover
Lady Gaga will always have to deal with huge expectations when it comes to the release of her albums and there will always be people who are disappointed with her new output. For me however, ARTPOP is a decent pop record with some great tracks on it. It is not her best work so far (The Fame Monster says hello), but still ‘Applause’, ‘Sexxx Dreams’, ‘Do What U Want’ and ‘Venus’ show she still knows how to write huge choruses.

08. Beyoncé – BEYONCÉ

Beyoncé BEYONCÉ album cover
I waited until the last day of the year to complete this list, as I could not predict if any artist would ‘pull a Beyoncé’ and release a record out of the blue. She surprised the world with this interesting, cohesive and captivating album. Almost every track on there sounds fresh and it seems Beyoncé found the style that fits her best. ‘Haunted’, ‘XO’, ‘Mine’ and ‘Jealous’ are all brilliant tracks and with every listen another song stands out. Great work Bee, we now understand why it took you so long!

07. Lorde – Pure Heroine
Lorde-Pure-Heroine
The success of the young singer Lorde from New-Zealand might be one of the biggest surprises of the year. It is still hard to imagine how a then sixteen-year-old was capable of creating such a cohesive, well-written album full of huge tunes. Not only singles ‘Royals’ and ‘Tennis Court’ are great songs, but she shows her talents on beautiful and catchy songs like ‘White Teeth Teens’ and ‘Buzzcut Season’ as well. If she is this good at the age of 16, what will happen when she is a grown woman?

06. Birdy – Fire Within
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If any artist this year showed how she grew and matured musically, it is Birdy. After releasing an album full of covers as her debut, she did co-write her whole second album with a surprisingly strong record as a result. Beautiful ballads like ‘Words As Weapons’, ‘Strange Birds’ and ‘No Angel’ are still an important part of her music, but she also tries new, more up tempo sounds on ‘Light Me Up’, ‘Wings’ and ‘Standing In The Way Of The Light’, which fits her wonderful vocals perfectly. Definitely one of the most impressive albums of the year.

05. Charli XCX – True Romance
Charli-XCX-True-Romance
Charli XCX, known for her feature and co-writing on Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, released a brilliant debut album herself this year. True Romance is an album full of slick, stylish and pumping electro pop. Her lyrics are sharp, the beats are fat and her vocal style is immediately recognizable. Tracks like ‘You (Ha Ha Ha), ‘You’re The One’ and ‘Nuclear Seasons’ all have huge choruses with killer hooks. This young woman knows how to write some perfect pop tracks, ladies and gentlemen!

04. Gabrielle Aplin – English Rain
Gabrielle Aplin English Rain
Gabrielle Aplin has been working very hard for quite a few years, but in 2013 she finally dropped her first record ‘English Rain’. Her voice sounds angelic, her lyrics are strong and often relatable and the melodies are beautiful. The album deals with a broad range of emotions and Gabrielle is convincing as the teller of the stories. She is angry on ‘Keep On Walking’, thankful on ‘Salvation’, done with a relationship on ‘Panic Cord’ and cautious on ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’. This album has a great variety of strong songs and that voice is just lovely.

03. Miley Cyrus – Bangerz

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The most talked about pop star of the year did not only twerk, she made a pretty great album as well. Singles ‘We Can’t Stop’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’ are both brilliant, but Miley proved to be capable of even more. There are a few missteps on this record (‘SMS (Bangerz)’ and ‘Love Money Party’), but the heights, such as the singles, ‘Drive’, ‘FU’,‘4×4’ and ‘Someone Else’ are all so good that it makes you forget not every song is perfect. Miley Cyrus proved herself to be an interesting pop star with some great tracks!

02. Haim – Days Are Gone
HAIM-Days Are Gone
Band of sisters Haim started the year with huge expectations after they won the Sound of 2013 poll. They did not disappoint with their debut record ‘Days Are Gone’ with a great recognizable sound and eleven strong tracks. The first single ‘Forever’ is still the standout track, but songs like ‘Falling’, ‘Days Are Gone’ and ‘Let Me Go’ all show their song writing talents. The sisters created an own sound and delivered a cohesive album that never bores.

01. Laura Jansen – Elba
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The best album of 2013 came from an unexpected place for me, but Dutch singer-songwriter Laura Jansen delivered a truly impressive album. First single ‘Queen Of Elba’ is one of my favourite songs of the year and basically all tracks on the album are great. The lyrics are all well written, touching and tell very personal stories and the melodies are utterly gorgeous. From the uplifting ‘Golden’ to the emotional ballad ‘A Call To Arms’ and the more electronic ‘Lighthouse’ and from the great mash-up ‘Smalltown (Come Home)’ to the heartbreaking and personal ‘Pretty Me’, literally everything about this album is right. She crowned herself the queen of Elba, I crown her the album queen of the year!

The best pop videos of 2013

Best Videos pop 2013

The fifteen best videos in pop in 2013

In the next few days I will publish some end-of-year lists to show you what my favourites were in pop music this year. I will start with the best 15 pop music videos that were released in 2013. There were quite some great videos to see the light of day this year, here is my pick:

15. Antti Tuisku – Rakkaus On.
Finnish pop star Antti Tuisku made a comeback this year with the single ‘Rakkaus On.’. The video for the song features Tuisku in various gorgeous landscapes with beautiful colours that symbolize the four elements. The parts where he is partly buried in sand are gorgeous and Antti standing on a mountain with his clothes flowing in the wind is a tad dramatic, but pretty great to look at. Visually, this is one of the most beautiful videos I have seen this year.

14. Chlöe Howl – Paper Heart
Chlöe Howl is a newcomer in the British music scene, but she will probably be one of the biggest new acts next year. The video for her single ‘Paper Heart’ has a simple concept, but is very effectively executed. We follow Chlöe when she gives a show in a park to break up with her boyfriend. The video plays nicely with the words of the song and this could definitely be called an epic way to break up with some douche bag. Well done Chlöe, we’ll hear more from you next year!



13. Gabrielle Aplin – Salvation

2013 was a big year for Gabrielle Aplin, as she released her successful debut album. She released ‘Salvation’ as the last single this year, with a gorgeous and fitting video, directed by Zaiba Jabbar. The story of needing someone to get through a tough period in life is perfectly depicted in the choreographed video. The movements, setting and atmosphere of the video all complement the song and Gabrielle herself looks stunning throughout the whole thing.

12. Jenni Vartiainen – Junat Ja Naiset
2013 has been a good year when it comes to videos by Finnish pop stars. Just like Antti Tuisku, Jenni Vartiainen made a gorgeous music video in breathtaking landscapes. In comparison to Tuisku, Vartiainen’s ‘Junat Ja Naiset’ is depicted way darker and more mysterious. The video is intriguing with all its metaphors and dark costumes. Almost every shot is beautiful and leaves you wanting to see the video again and again.

11. Diana Vickers – Cinderella
Sometimes, all a good music video needs is a cute love story. Diana Vickers must have known this when she filmed the video for her single ‘Cinderella’. The video is basically a modern take on the fairytale in which Vickers escapes from a party with a cute looking guy she just met. The two steal some drinks and end up in a pool. Nothing complicated, but just a beautifully depicted little love story of a cute and gorgeous couple.

10. Tom Odell – Another Love
This beautiful song by Tom Odell has two different videos which are both worthy of a place in this top 15. The first one was released in November 2012 and features Tom Odell in a room stoically singing the song to the camera while his girlfriend is putting op a fight with him. This was quite a hypnotic and impressive visual. In the second one, we see Odell spreading pictures of a missing girl through the city while he does not recognize her when he meets her. It is a beautiful story that goes well with the touching song. Two great videos for one song, impressive stuff!

09. Lily Allen – Hard Out Here
This, ladies and gentlemen, was the big comeback of the enfant terrible in pop music, Lily Allen. She came back in style with a funny and cheeky video that caused some controversy. The video criticized Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ with some satire, including the line ‘Lily Allen has a baggy pussy’. The video, directed by Christopher Sweeney, in which the judgement on women in the music industry is criticized, sparked some controversy, because people thought Allen was objectifying black women. To all those people, Allen can only say: ‘If you can’t detect the sarcasm you’ve misunderstood’.

08. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
This was the year of the comeback of Justin Timberlake as well. He released some music after quite some years of focusing on his acting career. ‘Mirrors’ was his most successful single and by far his best video. The video, directed by Floria Sigismondi, depicts the love of two people throughout their lives. We see different phases of getting to know each other, a first pregnancy and the death of one of them. It is al beautifully acted and shot and in the finale, we see a beautiful scene with Timberlake surrounded by mirrors. This video was definitely the best part of his comeback.

07. Veronica Maggio – Sergels Torg
Veronica Maggio is one of Sweden’s most popular artists and she made one of the most touching and heartbreaking videos of the year for her gorgeous single ‘Sergels Torg’. The video, directed by Mans Nyman, is shot in sunny territory, which contrasts with the feelings the song and video are about. Maggio, preparing for a party on her own in an apartment with a swimming pool, is beautiful to watch and her frustration and loneliness are intense in the climax of the song. We literally see her fall apart and this never looked so beautiful before.

06. Britney Spears – Work Bitch!
And then there was a not so impressive new single by Britney Spears. The video, directed by Ben Mor, however, was quite spectacular, when compared to her visual output in recent years. She showed us some attitude and the settings in the desert, at the pool with the sharks and some of the dance scenes were all very pleasant to look at. Britney looks better than she did in years and the whole vibe of the video comes across like she had a lot of fun at the shoot. Shame about the song, but that video was pretty great!



05. Katy Perry – Unconditionally

Actually, the same goes for Katy Perry. ‘Unconditionally’ might be her weakest single so far, but that video, directed by Brent Bonacorso, is just undeniably beautiful. Perry looks gorgeous, the sets are breathtaking and the slow motion/fast forwarding editing is completely in line with the melody and beat of the song. Great dancing scenes, beautiful owls and that car crash scene, all completely gorgeous. The ‘Roar’ video was fun, but this is absolutely impressive. One of her best videos so far!

04. Anouk – Birds
Anouk, the Dutch pride at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, not only did a great performance at the show, but recorded a beautiful video for her song ‘Birds’ as well. She worked together with director Dana Nechushtan and gave the song a whole new meaning. The music video kind of feels like a short film and breathes a similar atmosphere to Black Swan. Anouk herself only plays a small part as ballet teacher. The story about suicide is not what most people had in mind with the song at first and therefore gives the song a new dimension. That is quite something to achieve with a video!

03. Beyoncé – Pretty Hurts
One of the hardest tasks in making this top 15, was choosing just one Beyoncé video from her visual album. Quite a lot of videos on this album would be good enough for this list, but I wanted to pick only one per artist. The most meaningful and impressive video on BEYONCÉ was for ‘Pretty Hurts’, directed by Melina Matsoukas. We see Beyoncé participating in a beauty pageant and the peek behind the curtain shows she is not that happy with her life. The scene halfway through where the host asks her what her aspiration in life is, which seems like an eye-opener for her, is beautifully depicted. It tells the story of the song perfectly and this is definitely one of the best videos in her career.

02. Hozier – Take Me To Church
This is the video that surprised me the most out of all the things I have seen in 2013. I was absolutely moved and impressed by it. The video, directed by Brendan Canty, shines a whole new light on the meaning of the song and it is definitely a very powerful message of love and acceptance. It is obvious that this video is saying something about the new laws in Russia that make it harder for LGBT people to live their own life and easier for hateful people to discriminate them. It is a brave step for new Irish artist Hozier to record such a video and song and I will definitely look forward to new material next year!

01. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
Most of all, 2013 was the year of Miley Cyrus. Hit after hit, controversy after controversy. Her video for the single ‘Wrecking Ball’, directed by Terry Richardson, truly delivered some iconic visuals of her naked, swinging on a wrecking ball. These images will still be remembered in a few years time in pop culture. The video is daring, but Miley at the same time acts out the vulnerability that is described in the lyrics of the song. I am not a huge fan of the hammer licking, but other than that, everything in the video perfectly complements the song. Not only did this video have a lot of impact, it is executed very well and deserves it to be crowned as best video of the year!

Last but not least, some honourable mentions: Lana Del Rey’s stunning short film Tropico, did not qualify as a music video, Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’, Beyoncé’s ‘Mine’ and ‘Haunted’ and Miley Cyrus’ ‘We Can’t Stop’ did not make it, because other videos by the same artist did and Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’ just missed out in 16th place.

Video Review: BEYONCÉ the videos

Beyonce Mine Video

Beyoncé puts a lot of effort in stunning ‘visual album’

Beyoncé put out her self titled fifth studio album (my review on the album here) last Friday and the unexpected release was not the only notable thing about BEYONCÉ. The singer found an innovative way of releasing an album, as she already recorded videos for all the tracks on it. She called it a ‘visual album’ and described how all the songs were accompanied by strong visuals in her head. She decided to record those already and put them out simultaneously with the songs. The singer spent the last few months shooting seventeen music videos all around the world. ‘Yoncé’ and ‘Ghost’ both have a separate video (on the album they are part of the songs ‘Partition’ and ‘Haunted’) and she recorded an extra video for ‘Grown Woman’, which is not part of the regular album. The result is a collection of worthy and often stunning videos. One thing is for sure: A for effort.

When hearing about a project like this, one would expect that most videos would be simple and even low-budget, but this is not the case with Beyoncé’s videos. It becomes apparent that literally every video is well thought out and the singer and her team put a lot of effort in this project to make sure all songs received a fitting and worthy video accompaniment. For example, the video for ‘Pretty Hurts’, directed by Melina Matsoukas, could not tell the story of the song better than it does now. We see Beyoncé participating in a beauty pageant and the depressing glimpse behind the curtain fits with the lyrics where she states that “perfection is the disease of a nation” and “you can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs the surgery”. Especially the part in the middle where she realizes she is not happy with what she is doing in life, which is visualised with images of her falling in water with her pageant dress still on, is gorgeously pictured with a perfect timing.

Where the video for ‘Pretty Hurts’ excels at depicting the story of the song, ‘Haunted’, directed by Jonas Akerlund, functions mainly to create a suitable atmosphere for the song. The haunting atmosphere in the song is recreated with a creepy video in which Beyoncé, stylish as always, walks into a big mansion and sees all kinds of freak shows in all the rooms she passes. Her stoic and icy delivery of the song works very well in combination with all the creepy elements shown. The video for ‘XO’ also does an outstanding job at creating the perfect vibe to go with the song. The enthusiasm that is shown when Beyoncé and her crew hang out in an amusement park fits the uplifting nature of the video. In ‘Jealous’, Beyoncé shows her acting skills as that video revolves around her feelings of frustration, doubt, love and of course jealousy that are expressed in the song.

In the powerful video for ‘Superpower’, we see Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Pharrell Williams making an appearance and her little sister Solange joins her for the video for ‘Blow’, which features a visually stunning scene with roller skates and fluorescent make-up. Beyoncé once again shows herself to be a charismatic and endearing performer on screen. She is able to pull of a song and video full of attitude like ‘***Flawless’, but at the same time convinces when delivering the emotional messages of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Blue’. Also, her daring and sexual behaviour on ‘Rocket’ and ‘Partition’ is quite explicit, but she knows how to keep things sexy and not too trashy. The visual highlight of the album however, is the brilliant and stunning video for ‘Mine (feat. Drake)’, directed by Pierre Debusschere. It features creative images of choreographies in sand, women painted in white, dancers and actors with their head hidden behind clothes and robes waving in the wind. All these different visuals are edited perfectly along with the tempo changes in the song. It perfectly summarizes ‘Mine’ and the whole album for that matter: daring, creative, innovative, a tad complicated, but above all impressive and simply beautiful.

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Video recensie: BEYONCÉ video’s

Kosten nog moeite worden gespaard voor Beyoncé’s visuele album

Beyoncé bracht afgelopen vrijdag haar naar zichzelf vernoemde vijfde studioalbum uit en de onverwachte release was niet het enige opvallende aan BEYONCÉ. De zangeres bedacht namelijk een innovatieve manier om een album op de markt te brengen, compleet met video’s voor elke track. Ze noemt dit een ‘visueel album’ and legde uit hoe alle songs gepaard gingen met sterke beelden in haar hoofd. Ze besloot daarom alle video’s al op te nemen en deze gelijk met het album te lanceren. Beyoncé nam de afgelopen maanden ruim de tijd om maar liefst zeventien videoclips op te nemen. ‘Yoncé’ en ‘Ghost’ kregen een eigen video (op het album zijn ze onderdeel van de songs ‘Partition’ en ‘Haunted’) en ze nam nog een extraatje op in de vorm van een video voor ‘Grown Woman’, wat het reguliere album niet haalde. Het resultaat is een collectie van waardige en vaak beeldschone video’s. Één ding is duidelijk: Beyoncé heeft kosten nog moeite gespaard voor dit project.

Bij het horen over een project als dit, gaat men er al snel vanuit dat de meeste video’s simpel en low-budget zullen zijn, maar niets is minder waar als het gaat om Beyoncé’s clipjes. Het wordt snel duidelijk dat over letterlijk elke video goed is nagedacht en er is veel moeite gedaan om elk lied passende en waardige beelden te geven. Zo vertelt de video voor ‘Pretty Hurts’, geregisseerd door Melina Matsoukas, het verhaal van het lied op sublieme wijze. We zien Beyoncé meedoen aan een beauty contest en de deprimerende kijk achter de schermen past goed bij songteksten als “perfection is the disease of a nation” en “you can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs the surgery”. Vooral de scène halverwege waar Beyoncé realiseert dat ze niet gelukkig is met deze invulling van haar leven, wat is verbeeld met shots waarin ze in haar mooie jurk onder water terecht komt, is prachtig en perfect getimed.

Waar de video voor ‘Pretty Hurts’ uitblinkt in het verbeelden van het verhaal van de song, weet ‘Haunted’, geregisseerd door Jonas Akerlund, juist perfect een sfeer te creëren die bij het lied past. De ‘haunting’ vibe in de song wordt op een creepy manier verbeeld als Beyoncé, stijlvol als altijd, een grote villa bezoekt en in elke kamer allerlei freakshows ziet gebeuren. Haar stoïcijnse en ijzige performance zijn de kers op de taart naast alle bizarre taferelen die zich in het huis afspelen. De video voor ‘XO’ doet ook uitstekend dienst als het gaat om het creëren van de perfecte vibe bij de muziek. Het enthousiasme waarmee Beyoncé en haar crew een dag doorbrengen in een groot pretpark, vult de warme en vrolijke song perfect aan. Beyoncé laat haar acteertalent zien in de video voor ‘Jealous’, die gebouwd is rond gevoelens als frustratie, twijfel, liefde en natuurlijk jaloezie, die ook de revue passeren in het lied.

In de krachtige clip voor ‘Superpower’, verschijnen Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams en Pharrell Williams even ten tonele en haar zusje Solange is te zien in ‘Blow’, overigens een video met een fantastische scène met rolschaatsen en fluorescerende make-up heeft. Beyoncé laat maar weer eens zien dat ze een charismatische en geloofwaardige performer is. Ze weet met veel overtuiging een lied en video vol ‘attitude’ als ‘***Flawless’ te brengen, maar tegelijkertijd ook te emotioneren met gevoelige boodschappen als in ‘Heaven’ en ‘Blue’. Daarnaast zijn haar uitdagende en seksuele uitspattingen in ‘Rocket’ en ‘Partition’ behoorlijk expliciet, maar toch blijft het sexy en wordt het nergens echt ordinair. Het visuele hoogtepunt is de briljante en beeldschone video voor ‘Mine (feat. Drake)’, geregisseerd door Pierre Debusschere. We zien creatieve beelden en choreografieën in het zand, in het wit geschilderde vrouwen, dansers en acteurs met hun hoofd bedekt onder kledingstukken en wapperende gewaden. Al deze verschillende beelden zijn perfect geëdit op de tempowisselingen in de track. Deze video weet ‘Mine’ en eigenlijk het hele album perfect samen te vatten: uitdagend, creatief, vernieuwend, enigszins ingewikkeld, maar boven alles indrukwekkend en simpelweg prachtig.

Lees mijn recensie over het album zelf hier.