Beyoncé shocked the world Thursday night when she dropped her fifth album onto iTunes without a word of advance notice. You’ve seen all the famous Twitter reactions to the news, but now that the shock of the release has died down, it’s time to ask: How are the songs?
Beyoncé (yes, the album is self-titled) comes packaged as a “visual album” made up of 14 songs and 17 music videos, and Bey has graciously uploaded 30-second snippets of each video to her YouTube channel. Here’s everything you need to know about each song.
A modern-day version of TLC’s “Unpretty,” complete with a pageant-bashing video.
"Ghost" (Video-Only Track)
Beyoncé raps over what looks like outtakes from a fashion shoot.
A formal Beyoncé stalks the halls of a surreal Shining-style hotel over a minimalist beat.
"Drunk on Love"
Beyoncé writhes around on a beach while describing how great it is having married sex with Jay Z. (Jay shows up in person in the full version to confirm.)
A very dirty song about cunnilingus gets an appropriately sexy roller-rink video.
Like Drake’s "Worst Behavior" video, but with Houston instead of Memphis, and fewer daddy issues.
"Yoncé" (VIdeo-Only Track)
We get extreme close-ups of a woman’s legs, thighs and butt, as Beyoncé once again refers to her own body as an “it.”
Is it “girl you like” or “girl you lick”? Either would work with this slinky, burlesque-themed video.
Can anyone make talking about themselves in the third-person seem as normal as Beyoncé does? Here, Bey raps about “Beyoncé fillin’ out this skirt” while she chills at a party that’s way too cool for any of us to be invited to.
This one sounds like a long-lost 4 track. It’s a gigantic, melty chocolate Valentine’s cake of a song, with a glossy high fashion video.
Beyonce invites some zombies to the "Run the World (Girls)" set, and Drake tags along to further expound upon his favorite topic, “good girls.”
Terry Richardson directed this video, but there’s not a naked ingénue in sight. Instead, it’s just fun times at the Coney Island boardwalk, perfect for the album’s most radio-friendly track.
This is the song formerly known as "Bow Down," with a spoken-word section from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie taking the place of the earlier song’s bizarre Spring Breakers rant. Plus it gives us this album’s “Hurry up with my damn croissants!”: Beyoncé’s furious “I woke up like this!” (best performed with the hand gestures seen in the video above).
“Superpower” is a relaxed bit of throwback soul, which is confusing since its video looks like something Tarsem would dream up after a night at Occupy Wall Street.
Beyoncé’s friend got married and Bey is so happy for her, you guys.
A shimmering ballad about the First Daughter of pop, gets a vacation-snapshot video shot in Brazil.
"Grown Woman" (Video-Only Track)
The hit-single-that-never-was remains as awesome as it was last spring, and now it’s got a video to match: a VHS-inspired romp through Beyoncé’s decades of video history, cannily edited to make it look like Bey had been singing this song her whole life. In a sense, she has.
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