Surprise! Christmas arrived several weeks early for Beyonce fans at midnight on Friday, Dec. 13.
The powerhouse singer, 32, dropped her new self-titled album, Beyonce, without any warning or indication that the record was even in the works leading up to the iTunes takeover.
"I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it," Beyonce shared in a press release distributed shortly after her new album dropped Friday. "I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans."
Beyonce’s fifth LP -- also labeled as a “visual album” -- was made available exclusively at 12 a.m. EST on Apple’s entertainment hub. "There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans," the star said in the release. "I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”
Beyonce includes 32 tracks -- 14 songs and 17 "complementary videos” that “unfold amid an international backdrop of New York, Paris, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro,” it read in the iTunes editors’ notes section.
The “Countdown” crooner collaborated with an impressive range of artists in her latest work, including talents like Drake, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, former Destiny’s Child group mates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland (who appear in the "Superpower" video), and of course, hubby Jay Z. The couple's daughter Blue Ivy, 23 months, is also featured in Beyonce’s new album in a song titled "Blue."
Meanwhile, the singer’s fans, and family, immediately reacted to the news: “So my sister is a f--king G," wrote younger sister Solange Knowles. She later added in a tweet, "I'm sitting here watching THE most artful and perfect project ever."
Tell Us: What do you think of Beyonce’s shocking record release?