Beyonce, "Beyonce" (Columbia Records/Parkwood Entertainment)

Beyonce is a beast.

Her fifth self-titled album, released in surprise form late last week, is a collection of songs that highlight Beyonce's evolution as a woman and artist. It's her strongest and most cohesive album to date.

What's most appealing about "Beyonce" is that it shows — in the sound and method of release — how she isn't conforming to mainstream and commercial standards: The songs, while some will find success as singles, play like a unified assembly, instead of a loose body of work (that's a hit at the slew of contemporary pop singers who are singles artists). On the gloomy "Haunted," Beyonce even hints at the album's future success (or lack thereof): "This probably won't sell," she says. "I don't trust these record labels, I'm torn."

The album marks a powerful time for Beyonce. While her competitors include acts like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga — singers who consistently release chart-topping songs — Beyonce jumps back in front of the pack with an album that is both commercially appealing and artistically enticing.

She kicks off the 14-track set in a supreme way with the Sia-penned "Pretty Hurts," a mellow R&B number about the sickness behind attempting perfection. It's matched with a beautiful video — as are the other songs — and features lyrics like, "It's the soul that needs surgery." That's followed with the Jay Z-assisted "Drunk in Love," a strikingly thumping, sexually charged jam that's irresistible. And sexuality is a large part of Beyonce's album.

On the old school-flavored "Blow," one of the disc's best tracks, Beyonce sings proudly of hitting the sheets with her lover, and on "Rocket," co-written with Justin Timberlake, she provides a Quiet Storm-anthem, where she sings softly: "Punish me, punish me please." On the falsetto-heavy "No Angel," Beyonce declares she's a freak.

The songs on "Beyonce" often double up in sound like two tracks combined, in the vein of Timberlake's work, though most of Beyonce's songs aren't as long. "(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)Flawless" interpolates parts of the previously released "Bow Down/I Been On" and is full of swag, much like the beat-heavy "Partition."

Beyonce, a mostly guarded celebrity, has become more open over the years, and that's especially the case with songs like the self-explanatory "Jealous" and "Heaven," a soft and slow song about a loved one's death that could refer to her miscarriages.

"Blue," which includes the voice of her daughter Blue Ivy, closes the album and features Beyonce's beautiful tone and pitch. And that's just it — "Beyonce" is pitch perfect.

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Follow Mesfin Fekadu at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin

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  • LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Beyonce performs at The BRIT Awards 2014 at 02 Arena on February 19, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

  • (L-R) Singer Jay Z and his wife singer Beyonce watch the NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in New York, February 3, 2014 AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This Jan. 26, 2014 file photo shows Beyonce at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. A year after performing for the big game at the Superdome in New Orleans, Beyonce performed for a smaller crowd Saturday night Feb. 1, 2014 as Jay Z brought his wife out for a surprise cameo during his concert for DirecTV’s “Super Saturday Night” party on the eve of the Super Bowl. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, FIle)

  • Beyonce, left, and Jay-Z perform "Drunk in Love" at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Beyonce performs onstage on her Mrs. Carter World Tour, on Friday, December 20, 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. (Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP)

  • IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT - Beyonce performs onstage at her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013," on Wednesday, December 19, 2013 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Rob Hoffman/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

  • IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT - Beyonce performs onstage at her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013," on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

  • IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT - Singer Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013", during the BET Experience music festival on Friday June 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Beyonce is wearing a custom hand beaded peplum one-piece by Ralph & Russo with shoes by Stuart Wieztman. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

  • Beyonce performs at The Sound of Change Live at Twickenham Stadium in London on Saturday, June 1st, 2013. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP Images)

  • Salma Hayek, Creative Director of Gucci Frida Giannini and Beyonce arrive at The Sound of Change Live at Twickenham Stadium in London on Saturday, June 1st, 2013. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP Images)

  • Beyonce, honorary chairwoman, arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala benefit in honor of the museum’s latest exhibit, “Punk: Chaos to Couture.” May 6, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY

  • NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Beyonce attends the Costume Institute Gala for the 'PUNK: Chaos to Couture' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013", on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Beyonce is wearing a custom hand beaded peplum one-piece by Ralph & Russo with shoes by Stuart Wieztman. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

  • Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013", on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Beyonce is wearing a coat and boots by Pucci. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

  • Beyonce performs with guitarist Bibi McGill, left, on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013", on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Beyonce is wearing an outfit by designer Alon Livne with shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

  • This April 4, 2013 file photo shows married musicians Beyonce, left, and rapper Jay-Z as they tour Old Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, file)

  • This Feb. 10, 2013 file photo shows Beyonce at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, file)

  • Singer Beyonce, winner Best Traditional R&B Performance, poses in the press room at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

  • This undated promotional image released by H&M shows entertainer Beyonce in an ad for H&M's new summer advertising campaign. Beyonce will be featured on billboards, and in print ads and TV commercials. (AP Photo/H&M)

  • In this Feb. 12, 2013 photo, Beyonce Knowles attends the premiere of "Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream" at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

  • Beyonce sits courtside before the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03: Singer Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Singers Kelly Rowland, Beyonce and Michelle Williams perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03: Singer Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

  • NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 31: Beyonce speaks onstage at the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show Press Conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on January 31, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

  • NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 31: Beyonce speaks onstage at the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show Press Conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on January 31, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

  • WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Singer Beyonce performs the National Anthem as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Jay-Z and Beyonce arrive at the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 10: Jay Z and Beyonce Knowles watches a game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on December 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: (L-R) Jay-Z, Beyonce, 2012 Sportsman of the Year LeBron James and Savannah Brinson attend the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award presentation at Espace on December 5, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • A video from singer Beyonce is projected during the Global Citizen Festival, a mass music concert and event to urge world leaders to act towards ending extreme poverty, in Central Park in New York on September 29, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DUNAND

  • LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 01: Beyonce accepts the award for Video Director of the Year onstage during the 2012 BET Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on July 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images For BET)

  • Beyonce attends the Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 7, 2012, celebrating the opening of Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. AFP PHOTO TIMOTHY A. CLARY

  • LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Beyonce Knowles at The Launch Of House Of Dereon By Beyonce And Tina Knowles at Selfridges on September 17, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images)

  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Beyonce and Solange Knowles pose backstage at the Vera Wang Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Stage at Lincoln Center on September 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

  • US-FASHION-MET-COSTUME-GALA

    Beyonce, honorary chairwoman, arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala benefit in honor of the museum's latest exhibit, "Punk: Chaos to Couture." May 6, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)