Beyoncé just shocked the music world by announcing and releasing her new album on the same day. The 32-year-old singer released her self-titled fifth album on iTunes early Friday, with no announcement beforehand.
The “visual album” features 14 songs and 17 videos, with collaborators such as Frank Ocean, Drake, her husband Jay Z and their daughter Blue Ivy, who turns 2 in January.
“I see music,” Beyoncé said in a press release, explaining the idea behind a visual album. “It’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.”
According to the press release, recording took place over a year and a half but began at a Hamptons retreat in the summer of 2012. Knowles revealed that the sudden release was, in part, because she was “bored” with the conventional process of releasing an album.
“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that,” she said. “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. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”
A press release announcing the album notes that Beyonce “has been the target of leaks,” adding that “this is a fully designed preventative plan. The album will be offered as a cohesive body of work with every song and every video available all at once for one single purchase.”
Although “Beyoncé” is not a concept album, the press release says it is “designed to be consumed as a comprehensive audio/visual piece from top to bottom. The antithesis of making singles, the visual album is a non-linear journey through the thoughts and visions of Beyoncé.”
Actually, during a year there was plenty of speculation about Beyoncé’s new album. The star has been spotted filming videos in locations around the world, and some pieces of new music have been previewed in commercials, however, her record label had suggested as recently as this week that the next album would see release in 2014.
“Obviously, at some point Beyoncé will put a record out, and when she does it will be monumental,” said Columbia chairman Rob Stringer in an interview with Hits Daily Double.
Every song on the album has also been given a video, all of which are available on iTunes; “Grown Woman,” a promotional cut that Beyonce performed during her Mrs. Carter world tour this year, appears as a bonus video, but did not make the album’s track list. “Standing on the Sun,” penned by Sia and featured in an H&M ad, is nowhere to be found, says the Hollywood Reporter.
The videos, some of which were co-directed by Knowles, were filmed in locations across the world, including Brazil, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and the singer’s home of Houston, Texas.