On Friday, Beyonce surprised the world with a brand new audio visual album simply called Beyonce. The first two singles off the record are “Drunk In Love” featuring hubby Jay Z and “XO,” a feel-good jam that’s sure to race up the charts. We have everything you need to know about the new song and video that’s to be played everywhere in the coming months.
First, some details about the song:
1. It was co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder, OneRepublic’s frontman and the same guy behind some of pop’s biggest hits, including “Bleeding Love” (Leona Lewis) and “Burn” (Ellie Goulding). Tedder also wrote “Halo,” which elements of can be heard in “XO.” Both are definitely signature pop power ballads.
2. “XO” was also co-written by Terius “The-Dream” Nash, who has also written some of Bey’s best songs, including “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” “End Of Time,” and “Run The World (Girls).”
3. The song samples audio from the Challenger explosion. The intro to “XO” features the voice of Public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt as he reports, “”Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction. We have no downlink.” (You can watch news footage (1:57).) The sample remains unexplained but it’s there.
4. The song is so new that Bey only performed it for the first time over the weekend. During a tour stop in Chicago, she debuted the song in front of thousands of fans at the United Center. “It hasn’t even been out for 24 hours,” she says during the performance. “I want to sing this to y’all because it was written for y’all.”
Now for the video:
5. It’s directed by Terry Richardson, who is having a big year. Not only did he photograph President Barak Obama at the beginning of the year but he also directed Miley Cyrus’ tongue-laced video for “Wrecking Ball.” He also directed the upcoming video for Lady Gaga’s surprisingly good duet with R. Kelly, “Do What You Want.”
6. It was filmed at New York’s Coney Island. Remember when all the photos came out of Bey filming a mysterious video at the end of the summer?! It turns out it was for “XO.” Of all the videos filmed for the album, this was the only one caught on camera by photographers. Yet, no one leaked any details about the song itself.
7. At least one fan was terrorized during the make of the video. Manhattan resident, Doris Hone, who is afraid of heights was stuck atop of the Wonder Wheel for nearly a half hour. When she realized there was no getting down, she started screaming and crying to no avail. Poor girl!
8. That cute cameraman Bey singles out is Adam Glyn, a video journalist for TMZ. He was just as surprised as everyone by the news of the new album:
“Wake up today to find myself in the @beyonce XO music video!! Amazing!! Thank you @terryrichardsonstudio. Blown away.”
The video is filled with Easter eggs:
9. Harper Bazaar’s 2013 Model Of The Year, Jourdan Dunn, drops by Coney Island to hang out with Bey. The model, who walked the runway during the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremonies, also appears in the video for “Yonce.” She’s just one of many recurring people, things and themes.
10. The pageant trophy, which first appears in the video for “Pretty Hurts” and also makes an appearance in “Drunk In Love,” is tucked away in one of the solo shots of Bey in “XO.”