Observer Music

Beyoncé Drops Surprise Digital Album at Midnight With Instagram Announcement

Welcome to tech, Bey. May we take your coat?
Any questions? (Screengrab: iTunes)

Any questions? (Screengrab: iTunes)

Beyoncé blew Instagram’s new product announcement out of the water in the middle of the night when she used the platform to announce a surprise new album that not a damn soul expected.

Here’s the video, which Betabeat caught in a half-asleep stupor around 12:30 a.m. We assumed it was some kind of fever dream, as the news was clearly too good to be true:

Surprise!

A video posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

It’s available exclusively on iTunes, which is pushing the self-titled-in-all-caps album with all its might on its home page. Bearing a brand new music video for each of its 14 tracks as well as four bonus vids, it’ll run you a cool $15.99.

I think they really like Beyoncé

I think they really like Beyoncé (Screengrab: iTunes)

This surprise album-drop wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for social media and digital music distribution, making this Beyoncé’s first foray into the world of tech (hi bb, glad to have you). We give her an A+ on this effort. Instead of forcing us to download an app and learn to navigate a whole new platform which, frankly, most of us don’t feel like doing, Beyoncé is using technology to promote and distribute the album in a way that feels totally natural.

Think Hov is jealous? Guess the couple learned the hard way that music apps aren’t the way to go.

Betabeat has listened through the album approximately twice so far this morning, naturally, and we can report to you that Bey really delivers. She does a convincing Prince impression in “Rocket”; twerks in an alley while wearing a fur crop top on “Yoncé”; and smashes thousands of dollars worth of wine glasses and fine china on “Jealous.”

Of course, her trademark syrupy smarm is intact on a few tracks, most cringe-inducingly when she warbles, “Does your soul need a surgery?” on the album’s opener, “Pretty Hurts.” But it wouldn’t be a Beyoncé album with a few overly sentimental B-sides. That’s just part of her charm.

Most delightfully, there’s a fresh Jay-Z collab entitled “Drunk In Love.” While not as satisfying as “Crazy In Love” or “Upgrade U,” it might just have you thinking up choreographed dance moves in your head like the early-2000s middle school student you once were.

Pop stars of the world, this is how you seamlessly merge your music with tech-related distribution methods. Forget the extraneous apps: the people want good old-fashioned music videos downloaded directly—especially if you’re as masterful in that medium as Mrs. Knowles-Carter is.

Follow Molly Mulshine on Twitter or via RSS. mmulshine@observer.com