Song Of The Day 3/25/2014: Beyoncé - "XO"

New Music: Nobody is more surprised than me that this is one of my favorite albums of recent months, just because The Diva Event is a component of the pop marketplace that generally doesn't address my specific set of aesthetics (which are locked in a Geneva vault, I keep meaning to check in on them). The strongest statement I've made in favor of a diva album was probably that Born This Way was pretty good. I might've said some things in general favor of The Emancipation of Mimi. I was kind of in favor of this album before I had the chance to hear it because Beyoncé managed to make it in total secrecy, and without any warning, rumblings or fuss it just showed up on iTunes one night, with a video component for every song on the album. How does someone at Bey's level complete an entire album and make a feature film length of videos without making Harvey Levin so much as twitch in his sleep? Even when people kept telling me it was a great record, I couldn't estimate how great it was until I heard it. It's flipped out. It's insanely satisfying. It's filthy and it's crazy. It's as if nobody knew she was doing anything at all, so she just went in and did whatever she wanted. I mean, take this song: The way it starts out with the eighth-note keyboard riff, I thought it was going to be a mid-'70s Supertramp song. If you're not actually Supertramp that's a good thing to do! (Sorry, had to make that joke. I like Supertramp fine.) And Beyoncé's not overplaying her vocals, as she sometimes had the tendency to do. Trust me on this one, okay? Well, fine, you don't have to trust me, but please tolerate me.

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