Beyonc? And Co. Run the World on Leaked Single

by

Beyonce Runs The World

“Girls (Who Run the World),” reportedly the first single from Beyonc?‘s forthcoming album, leaked last night, and one thing’s for sure: Sasha Fierce is definitely not trying to sound like much else on the radio right now.

(For the moment the song is streaming at The Fader, but just a heads up, the stream may not last long.)

The track’s brief piano intro, akin to that of Lady Gaga‘s “Telephone” (on which Beyonc? featured), is a fake-out: after five seconds, the air is sonically sucked out of the track and replaced with a thumping dancehall snare sampled from Major Lazer‘s 2009 single “Pon de Floor.”

What follows is a pounding track, full of sidechained compression, but not trance-y in the least. Mostly the track is a call-and-response chant of “Who run the world?” “Girls!” but several pointed comments on empowerment are skillfully weaved into the lyrics, without feeling out of place: “I’m repping for the girls who’re taking over the world/ have me raise a glass for the college grads”?not to mention a shout-out to those “strong enough to bear the children then get back to business”?sit comfortably in the same song as “I think I need a barber/ None of these b*****s can fade me.”

In a way, this track is the flipside of The Prodigy‘s 2004 single “Girls,” another compression-heavy club track with a “girls” chant. But while The Prodigy’s Broken Glass sample is about “telling stories about all the young girls,” Beyonc?’s track restores the girls’ own subjectivity.

The “Girls”-chanting is further justified by the bridge, for which the beat falls back and the lyrics get as grandiose as the leaked video stills: “My persuasion can build a nation/ In this hour our love we can devour/ You’ll do anything for me,” the practically Cleopatra-channeling Beyonc? coos.

All in all, the single is fairly unprecedented, in its collision of Caribbean club beats and diva-rapping with girl-power anthem tropes (that don’t rely heavily on sexualization). Who knows how it will fare against the surfeit of RedOne and Dr. Luke Euro-house hits? One thing’s for sure: the song is certain to strike a chord.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]