Beyonce somehow managed to keep her new 14-song, 17-video album a secret. Today, pretty much everyone on the planet is putting together pieces to the puzzle of how they pulled off the remarkable effort.
Here are five things we did not know about Beyonce’s new album until today:
1. Beyonce has a new album “Beyonce”
Let’s be clear — nobody outside of Beyonce’s camp knew that this album was coming out when it did. But due to the timing — the album was released Friday at midnight ET (9 p.m. PT) — many people went to bed last night assuming the pop star’s next album would be sometime in 2014. Those same people woke up to a complete internet takeover, and lots of catching up to do.
Earlier this week, Columbia Records CEO Robert Stringer said that Beyonce’s next album would be “monumental,” but through carefully chosen words he hinted that it was coming in 2014. Days later, it was on iTunes. Monumental, indeed.
2. Beyonce’s video dancers weren’t aware they were shooting for the album
A dancer from Beyonce’s “Blow” video told TMZ that she knew she was involved in some sort of video project for the pop star when they filmed in September, but little else. The dancer told the celebrity news site that the gig was arranged “very last minute.”
She and other dancers from Beyonce’s Super Bowl show flew to Houston for the two-day shoot, where the dancers signed confidentiality agreements, and cell phones were not allowed.
3. Beyonce is cashing in
Forbes reports that 2014 could very well be the singer’s strongest fiscal year ever — meaning Beyonce will likely pull in more than $87 million dollars, a staggering total that she’s earned in two different years. Factoring in endorsements, Beyonce could top Madonna‘s 2013 haul of $125 million.
Damon Williams, Vice President of Programming & Content Development, Music Choice, agreed with that assessment: “I bet she’ll get some sponsors on the back end,” he told TheWrap. “I’m sure there are brand managers right now scrambling around,” Williams added.
4. There’s a French version of “The Big Lebowski,” and Beyonce is a fan
As Slate pointed out, the French lyrics on new song “Partition” are sampled from the French version of the cult classic movie Jeff Bridges movie, “The Big Lebowski.”
Here are the lyrics in French per Slate: “Est-ce que tu aimes le sexe? Le sexe. Je veux dire, l’activité physique. Le coït. Tu aimes ça? Tu ne t’interesses pas au sexe? Les hommes pensent que les féministes détestent le sexe, mais c’est une activité très stimulante et naturelle que les femmes adorent.”
And in English, from “Lebowski”: “Do you like sex? Sex. I mean, the physical activity. Coitus. Do you like it? You’re not interested in sex? Men think that feminists hate sex, but it’s a very stimulating and natural activity that women love.”
5. Beyonce’s still got it
The early reviews of “Beyonce” have been overwhelmingly glowing. Eeveryone, critics included, are experiencing it together for the first time. With 14 songs and 17 videos, there is a lot to take in. But fans and critics who have been up to the task have generally praised the product.
Also receiving much-deserved kudos is the team who pulled off the greatest secret in music.
Beyonce’s peers are loving it too. Read just a handful of Hollywood tweets:
Don't talk to me today unless it's about @Beyonce THANX
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) December 13, 2013
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) December 13, 2013
Well so what if @Beyonce recorded & released a secret album & video series? I caught up on Homeland & reorganized my closet.
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) December 13, 2013
I just…I just…@beyonce is amazing.
— Jordin Sparks (@JordinSparks) December 13, 2013
The new Beyonce album is so perfect wow
— Abigail Breslin (@yoabbaabba) December 13, 2013