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Did Beyoncé just surprise-drop the best live album of all time?

Los Angeles Times staff writers, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

WOOD: "Homecoming" is also the rare live album whose audience has likely already consumed -- live, via YouTube or now on Netflix -- the concert in question.

What it offers, in other words, is the pleasure of experiencing the show again -- of being reminded of the shock and awe, but also of being able to savor the countless details that flew by you in real time.

Listening now, I'm amazed at the intricacy of the marching-band arrangements in "Sorry" and "Party" and the lushness of the vocal harmonies in "Say My Name"; indeed, the singing throughout is shockingly precise, given how much was happening around Beyonce onstage.

ROBERTS: As the most successful and popular musician of her generation, the mere mention of Beyonce's name prompts an avalanche of images and expectations. Unfortunately, her musicality is rarely at the front of the conversation. The genius of issuing "Homecoming" as a recording is that it strips away all the eye candy -- the choreography, the fashion, the visual syncs -- until what's left is sound.

Cranking in your car, say, the transition from "I Been On" to "Drunk in Love" or the foot-stomping intro to "Party," is an invitation to hear her as a consummate bandleader and musical scholar.

EASTER: I'm glad that Randall used the word "genius" to describe "Homecoming." There are people who believe (and years ago I was one of them) that Beyonce was a performer fabricated by a team of handlers, with little creative input into her own persona and product. That's just not true.

 

There have been discussions about this before, but the word "genius" is so rarely used to describe women. Oxford defines genius as "exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability." So yeah, it's fair to say that Beyonce, and this work, is genius. I hope "Homecoming" cements that. And I hope we can start considering more women geniuses.

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