She's Beyonce — she can do whatever she wants. But many fans were shocked to hear she released Beyonce exclusively on iTunes Friday out of the blue, with no fanfare or marketing.
Bey mirrors how hubby Jay Z released Magna Carta Holy Grail earlier this year — through a deal with Samsung where he gave the album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones days before its official release.
Beyonce’s fifth effort features 14 songs and 17 videos. Jay Z, Drake and Frank Ocean make guest appearances on the album, while the closing track, Blue, features her baby daughter. Justin Timberlake co-wrote two songs; Pharrell, Timbaland, Ryan Tedder, Miguel and Sia also co-wrote tracks.
The album caused a stir on social media websites; Twitter said early data shows mentions of Beyonce spiked by 500,000-plus tweets after she announced the album. Diddy, Alicia Keys and Demi Lovato were among the celebrities tweeting about the topic.
Beyonce calls the work a “visual album,” and she filmed some of the videos in Paris, New York, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Houston, her hometown.
“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” she said in a statement. “I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. 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’s last album was 4, released in 2011. It reached platinum success. Beyonce will be available in stores “in time for the holidays,” her representative said.
Prince Harry and his fellow adventurers have made it to the South Pole. Harry, 29, is a member of one of three teams involving injured soldiers that set out two weeks ago on the 200-mile Walking with the Wounded South Pole Challenge.
The charity said Friday that the teams arrived at the South Pole at 8:25 a.m. The challenge was initially a race but organizers suspended the competitive element last week due to harsh conditions.
Actors Dominic West and Alexander Skarsgard also were on the trek with teams from Britain, the Commonwealth and the U.S.
Harry, an army Apache helicopter pilot who has served in Afghanistan, spent several days in 2011 trekking with wounded servicemen on a similar expedition to the North Pole.
Wake and break
Breaking up before the holidays can never be easy, but some couples can’t keep it together one more minute.
Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom have seemed doomed for a while (she officially filed for divorce Friday), but the news of longtime pair Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs splitting was a big shocker. The frequent collaborators married in 2003 and had a son, Walker, in 2009.
And Madonna is flying solita again, calling it off with Israeli dancer Brahim Zaibait. The 55-year-old met the 25-year-old in 2010. Zaibait may have gotten too close for Madge’s comfort with his pro partner on the French version of Dancing With The Stars. No biggie. The Irish Independent says that the singer may be rekindling her romance with Sean Penn. The two were recently on a humanitarian trip in Haiti and are considering spending the holidays a deux.
And Sofia Vergara may not be in wedding plan mode after all. The New York Daily News reports there may be trouble with fiance Nick Loeb because they didn’t spend Thanksgiving together.