Anyone who hasn’t recognized the release of Beyoncé as a huge moment in music just doesn’t get it. It’s about a female African-American artist taking her power and letting the world know that the rules don’t apply to her. Beyoncé Knowles doesn’t have to “leak” her songs, scandalize us at the VMAs or drive a gold truck around L.A. to sell millions of records, because she’s not putting out that mediocre stuff. How often does someone proclaim that they’re the greatest and they’re actually right?
Knowles has said that she chose her unorthodox surprise release because she wanted people to invest in her record as an “immersive experience.” As an album, Beyoncé feels both succinct and languid at times. There are more than a few six-minute songs on there, but their thoroughness is balanced by the record’s overall minimalist production. A great example is “Drunk in Love,” a light and sexy love song not unlike 2003’s “Crazy In Love.” The video, in black and white and directed by Hype Williams, is one of the simplest and most fun in the visual album. Beyoncé cavorts on a beach at night with a fog machine and an appearance from Jay-Z. No dancers, no choreography, just wet hair and sand. Watch it above.