I Am... Sasha Fierce lands in stores today. The big question is whether it will fly off shelves at lightspeed or not. While I initially thought the idea of a double-album was too much, now I have to give Matthew Knowles his props, because based on that "Oprah" interview, Beyonce was dead set on recording the so-called "more personal" songs on I Am. For those who've already heard the deluxe edition, can you imagine if Bey dropped a regular length album with only those songs???
Oh the fans would definitely be in revolt. While "Disappear" is still my favorite track on the whole thing, I have to admit songs like "Ego," "Single Ladies" and "Diva" hold my attention much better than the "slow side of the album." I just like the things Bey does with her voice on fast songs better than the slow ones. Beyonce can sing, but when I want to hear a big ballad I'm looking for Whitney Houston or Celine Dion or even Toni Braxton. I still love ya though Bey...
For those of you who have heard the album, what did you think??? Hot or not? Any favorite tracks? Talk to me y'all!
And speaking of tracks, if you don't like the I Am... side of the album you can blame it on her role as Etta James in the upcoming Cadillac Records (out December 5th) Beyoncé told the Los Angeles Times that she gained 20 pounds and dotted her arms with track marks to play the role of the singer, who struggled with heroin addiction during that era. Bey even did some research at the Phoenix House, a rehab center in Brooklyn, to study that "heron lean" she uses in the film.
"I never tried drugs in my life so I didn't know about it all," Bey says. "It was hard to go there. In the beginning I didn't want to offend anyone, I didn't want to ask the wrong questions or seem judgmental. They were so honest, though and I am so thankful. I don't think I could have understood that level of pain or need. What they do there is amazing. I learned a lot about life and myself."
And while the part took it's toll on the normally sunny-spirited Beyonce, she says the film role carried over to her album.
"I wasn't sure I could even do it," Beyoncé said. "I read Etta's book and watched every video of her I could find. I wanted to do her justice. She's a real woman that had guts and was unapologetic. . . . I wanted to have the swollen eyes and the veins in my face too. I wanted to make it real. But during the filming, you couldn't talk to me. I am a very happy person, I am, and I realize how blessed I am, so to be in such a painful place. . . . It was one of the hardest things I've ever done."
When it was over, Beyoncé told the LA Times she realized she was still living with James' spirit and that influenced the way she performed the songs on I Am . . .
"I'm the most proud of that movie, more than anything I've done so far," she said. "More than anything, it changed me. It changed my art. It changed my way of looking at everything; my approach to the songs I chose and the way I sang [on the "I Am . . . "] record. I kept it a lot cleaner and lot more simple. In the studio, I sang those songs the same way as if I had a scene with my acting coach. I was in there crying, screaming and sweating, all of that. . . . All of that is in the music. I couldn't go from that to just singing anything. It had everything to do with 'I Am . . . ' Those songs are just from the heart."
Obviously we could spend all day talking about Beyonce over here, but today is a big day for other R&B artists as well -- particularly Slim of 112 who is staking solo fame with his new album Love's Crazy, which is also out today.
I've spent the last year jamming to the various remixes of his first single "So Fly". In fact, if you downloaded Friday's mix you'll hear a version that features Faith Evans and is amazing!
Here it is:
And the official vid:
Love's Crazy is in stores today! Look for my Q&A with Slim next week...
Also in stores and online today is Shontelligence the debut album from Bajan singer/songwriter Shontelle, who comes to us via SRC/Universal. You guys should remember Shontelle from my Q&A last month as well as her single's "T-Shirt" and "Battle Cry," but just in case you've forgotten I am posting them below.
Shontelligence is in stores and online now, my album review is coming soon!