Beyoncé's non-existent "Run The World (Girls)" promo campaign finally kicked off today with an insightful interview with Billboard magazine, the first album review and a longer video teaser. It's a lot of information to process - so here are the most important tidbits:
1. Bey's soon-to-be-all-conquering 4th album will be called "4". The title isn't going to win any awards for originality but at least it isn't an embarrassment like "B'Day". It's also a cute nod to fans who nicknamed the project "Round IV", so I'm on board.
2. The more I hear about this project, the more I'm convinced we're about to embark upon the 16 time Grammy winner's "Impossible Princess" phase. Everything from the line-up of producers to the scheduled rock festival appearances and list of influences screams edgy and experimental.
3. My gut feeling was pretty much confirmed by B's riveting Billboard interview, in which she said:
"I love... mixing different cultures and eras — things that typically don’t go together — to create a new sound. I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain."
4. She then listed her influences for the album as DeBarge, Fela Kuti, Adele, Lionel Richie, Muse, Teena Marie (YES!), Jackson 5, New Edition, Florence + the Machine, Prince and Rage Against The Machine. This is so exciting! I'm picking up on a strong retro R&B vibe with a little rock thrown in for good measure.
5. I love that Beyoncé is taking risks and growing. She could have easily phoned up Max Martin and Dr Luke like every other ho in the game and picked up 10 radio ready hits but that's what separates a legend like Mrs Knowles-Carter from manufactured pop stars like Britney and Rihanna - the drive to try new things and grow. It might be a total disaster but I'd prefer she experiment than play it safe and just be another number in the pack. This is all or nothing. And my money is still on Bey.
6. The highest earning pop star on the planet is feeling older and wiser. In another interesting Billboard quote, she says:
"I'm approaching 30, and finally took a break in my life, which I’ve never had. I took more than a year off: I traveled around, spent time with my husband, woke up in my own bed, ate whatever I wanted, went to museums and Broadway plays, watched documentaries, and just had life experiences."
In a typically biased and unnecessarily hateful post, my frenemy The Prophet desperately clutched at straws by citing a couple of random features as proof that Bey never got off the grind but truth be told she's been keeping a low profile since "Telephone", singing the occasional verse for friends and releasing a video for "Why Don't You Love Me?" that probably took 30 minutes to make. Apart from that she's just been snapped going to restaurants, hanging out at music festivals and travelling around Europe. I'm glad she's had the chance to recharge her batteries and bring fresh ideas to the table. Her increasingly stale rivals should try it.
7. The only child of destiny that counts confirmed she will star in a re-make of "A Star Is Born" - a role previously played by gay icon Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland. Bey now walks in the company of legends while Brit Brit is desperately trying to pitch "Crossroads 2" to Doll Phace.
8. A listening party was held in New York overnight and Just Jared posted the first review. It sounds amazing - particularly the song with the Boys II Men sample - but again I'm left with the impression that there are no instant radio hits on there. Which excites and scares me in equal measure.
9. I'm really excited that Beysus is embracing a more organic, instrument based sound. That kind of accompaniment will really compliment her glorious voice and produce a timeless album.
10. The first real look at "Run The World (Girls)" arrived today and it's absolutely flawless. I generally ignore YouTube comments but I agree with the stan who said "Sorry Gaga, but THIS is what $10 million should look like!" Francis Lawrence has crafted something truly epic. It's too early to start raving like a lunatic but - from the teaser alone - this is already the video of the year. The post-apocalyptic scenario is audacious and compelling. There are fucking hyenas in it. Bey's lacefront slays my life. That's all you really need to know.
Get ready to cry and shake!