Bey­once’s bold new al­bum

Singer sur­prises fans with the re­lease of self-ti­tled al­bum.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By Ger­rick D. kenneDy

Bey­once’s bold move

With­out as much as a hint, Bey­once stealth­ily re­leased her new al­bum.

As the West Coast of the united States was tuck­ing into bed last thurs­day night, the singer rolled out one of the bestkept se­crets in re­cent mu­sic his­tory: the al­bum she’s spent the past year teas­ing was now avail­able for pur­chase on itunes.

the self-ti­tled set comes as a “vis­ual al­bum” fea­tur­ing 14 new tracks and 17 mu­sic videos.

it’s cur­rently avail­able as an itunes ex­clu­sive. Man­u­fac­tur­ing of phys­i­cal al­bums be­gins to­day and a dou­ble-disc CD/DVD will be avail­able be­fore the hol­i­days, ac­cord­ing to her la­bel.

Work­ing with Jay Z, tim­ba­land, Justin timberlake, Phar­rell Wil­liams, Drake, the Dream, Sia, Ryan ted­der, Miguel, Frank ocean and hit Boy, the singer churned out her most am­bi­tious project to date, with­out ever ac­tu­ally say­ing she was putting out an al­bum any time soon.

“i didn’t want to re­lease my mu­sic the way i’ve done it. i am bored with that. i feel like i am able to speak di­rectly to my fans. there’s so much that gets be­tween the mu­sic, the artist and the fans,” Bey­once said in the al­bum’s an­nounce­ment on thurs­day.

“i felt like i didn’t want any­body to give the mes­sage when my record is com­ing out,” she added. “i just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”

the ques­tion of when Bey­once would re­lease her fol­low-up to 2011’s 4, and her first record since birthing her first child in 2012, has rat­tled fans for the bet­ter part of the year.

For her part, Bey­once dan­gled plenty of car­rots that new mu­sic would be ar­riv­ing, at some point.

She toplined the Su­per Bowl half­time show in Fe­bru­ary, sang for the pres­i­dent and launched a sold-out world tour, which she’s still on, and lit­tle bits of mu­sic were parceled out to fans.

She pre­viewed one track, Grown Woman in a Pepsi ad, be­fore de­but­ing it on her Mrs. Carter World tour, while another sin­gle,

Stand­ing On The Sun, was the back­drop for an h&M cam­paign. the video for Grown Woman ap­pears as a bonus cut on the video por­tion of the al­bum (it’s ex­cluded on the au­dio side).

But with each tease, the singer never re­vealed as much as an al­bum ti­tle, re­lease date or lead sin­gle. Col­lab­o­ra­tors would drop what lit­tle hints they could, but she con­tin­ued to re­main mum.

Bey­once’s sneak at­tack is the re­sult of more than a year and a half of work.

Record­ing be­gan when the singer and her camp of writ­ers and producers lived to­gether in the hamp­tons last sum­mer. And the videos were lensed in places like houston, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Syd­ney and Paris as she toured.

More im­pres­sive than Bey­once keep­ing the project un­der wraps – only pic­tures from un­con­firmed video shoots and a piece of footage from Grown Woman man­aged to leak – is what she man­aged to pull off.

the al­bum is a strik­ing col­lec­tion of work that shows her torch­ing the veil of her care­fully crafted im­age.

it’s dif­fi­cult to digest all she’s weaved to­gether in just one sit­ting. And she wants lis­ten­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence it as a com­plete body of work (the al­bum’s in­di­vid­ual tracks won’t go on sale un­til Dec 20).

the news of the al­bum jolted the in­ter­net and spread hotly across twit­ter and in­sta­gram as lis­ten­ers quickly dropped uS$15.99 (RM51.70) on the al­bum no one saw com­ing, with chat­ter and oMG-ing fu­el­ing twit­ter through­out the night.

She clearly took a clue from Jay Z and col­lab­o­ra­tor timberlake, who both sneak­ily re­leased de­tails on al­bums – Jay only giv­ing fans a few days’ no­tice in an­nounc­ing an

un­prece­dented plan of re­leas­ing his Magna

Carta Holy Grail al­bum for free, via smart­phones.

Bey­once com­pletely by­passed the an­nounce­ment of de­tails and opted to go straight for artist-to-fan con­sump­tion, re­leas­ing the project on her own terms.

the move is stun­ning, and vir­tu­ally un­heard of, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing how the hype ma­chine – sin­gles, per­for­mances, in­ter­views etc. – that pro­pels pop mu­sic up the charts is of­ten treated as equally, if not more im­por­tant than the work it­self.

With her lat­est work, Bey­once proved she wanted the work to speak for it­self – a lux­ury rarely af­forded to an act of her cal­iber.

She not only changed the game with the move – she claimed it. – Los An­ge­les times/ McClatchy-tri­bune in­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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