Monday, March 18, 2013

Beyoncé returns: Bow Down

Good grief, what an almighty racket.

With the honourable exception of Crazy In Love, Beyoncé has never been particularly good at choosing the lead single from her albums.

Ring The Alarm (from B'Day) and Run The World (from 4) were both noisy, brash statements of intent - but they were practically poison to radio. It took Irreplaceable and Best I Never Had to put the respective album campaigns back on track.

For her fifth album, she's hedging her bets by putting out two songs at once. Bow Down / I Been On, released on Soundcloud over the weekend, is a mash-up of two album tracks. The former is produced by Hit-Boy, while the latter bears the mucky fingerprints of Polow Da Don, Timbaland and Planet VI.

Has Beyoncé learned any lessons? Apparently not. Both tracks are uncompromisingly tough. I Been On finds our heroine pitch-shifted and rapping about Pimp C over ghetto electro beats (and bicycle bells, for some reason).

The message of Bow Down is all women were created equal, but some are more equal than others. "I know when you were little girls you dreamt of being in my world," Beyoncé trills. "Don't forget it... Bow down, bitches."

As a calling card, the mash-up is fantastic. Three thrilling minutes of intergalactic sonic adventure, with Beyoncé displaying more bite than a crocodile. Just don't expect to hear either track on Heart while you're eating your cornflakes.

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