Monday, 18 March 2013

Beyonce - Bow Down/I Been On

“Bow down bitches” Beyoncé growls in this, the first glimpse of her forthcoming fifth album.  For many she is Queen Bey, her world tour selling out in minutes.  But it’s important to note she’s not invincible and has often introduced her albums with a weak offering (Run The World (Girls) was far from the strongest track on ‘4’). 

Bow Down/I Been On is a similarly tough introduction, a mash-up of two album tracks.  The first half sees Beyoncé answering those who criticised the naming of her tour as ‘The Mrs Carter Show’, re-establishing her pop royalty position: “I took some time to live my life but don’t think I’m just his little wife”.  The beat is suitably fierce and aggressive as Beyoncé practically spits the words out.  The second half is recognisable from the O2 advert for the tour, but what’s not so recognisable is that it’s actually Beyoncé herself rapping with her voice pitch-shifted.  Clearly inspired by Mr Carter (it’s remarkable how alike they sound), this is Beyoncé’s attempt at hard-hitting hip-hop and it’s a world away from the lush power-ballads of ‘4’, despite the additional operatic sighs.  It’s also a world away from the ‘90s R&B sound that she promised having worked with the likes of Pharrell, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake on the forthcoming album.  

So how indicative is Bow Down/I Been On of the new material?  Can we expect an intimidating, masculine record or is this just another anomaly akin to Run The World (Girls)?  Either way, she's not taking any prisoners...


Listen: You can listen to Bow Down/I Been On on SoundCloud.  The fifth album is expected later this year.