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Beyonce Explains Surprise “Visual Album”: “I See Music, It’s More Than Just What I Hear”

Beyonce Knowles performs onstage
In a new mini documentary about her surprise "visual album," Beyonce explains why she wanted to release her music the way she did 

Friday the 13th is turning out to be a pretty lucky day for Beyonce fans. Just after midnight on Dec. 13, the "Love on Top" singer released a surprise new album, Beyonce, via iTunes. As previously reported, the so-called "visual album" features 14 songs and 17 "complementary videos," with guest stars Drake, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Jay Z, Destiny's Child band mates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, and daughter Blue Ivy, 23 months.

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"I see music. It's more than just what I hear," the 32-year-old superstar says in a promotional video about the album, posted to her Facebook page shortly after the LP hit Apple's iTunes store. "When I'm connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion — a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they're all connected to the music." 

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Beyonce wanted her fans to see those images, too. "I wanted people to hear the songs with the story that's in my head, 'cause it's what makes it mine," she explains. "That vision in my brain is what I wanted people to experience the first time."

The singer recalls watching Michael Jackson's famous "Thriller" video with her family, and says she wanted to recreate that kind of "immersive experience" for her own fans. "I wanted to make this body of work," she says. "And I feel like it's something that's lost in pop music."

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"I wanted people to hear things differently and have a different first impression — not just listen to a 10-second clip but actually be able to see the whole vision of the album," she continues. "It was important that we made this a movie, we made this an experience. I wanted everyone to see the whole picture, and to see how personal everything is to me."

It wasn't easy, she says. But it was worth it. "I told my team, 'I want to shoot a video for every song and put them all out at the same time.' Everyone thought I was crazy," she quips. "But we're actually doing it. It's happening."

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