I was up last Thursday at midnight when Beyoncé unexpectedly dropped her fifth-album, the self-titled Beyoncé. Not surprisingly people were freaking out instantly, saying Queen Bey had obliterated the competition and calling the record a game-changer. While I'd argue it’s still premature to make such sweeping declarations about a week-old album, early returns and Billboard numbers indicate the R&B blitzkrieg worked. But the more interesting thing to me during those early hours of the album's release wasn't what everyone was saying, but what wasn't being said. I follow three-hundred plus artists on Twitter and once the Beyoncé news broke, not a single one of them had a thing to say. It could've been the late-night hours that kept them silent; I'd like to picture the music industry collectively shuddering, not knowing how to even proceed.
Had they heard the album, they certainly would've been shook. A mélange of "post-dubstep tinted future R&B", Beyoncé's stunning cohesiveness borders on inscrutable. From the soaring "XO" to the matrimonial giddiness of "Drunk in Love", everything logically fits together and serves an artistic purpose, a major achievement considering how many people worked on this LP. One of these collaborative efforts that immediately caught my eye, was "Mine", featuring Drake and produced by the rapper's in-house producer Noah "40" Shebib. "Mine" is what you might expect from a “40” effort, fumes of synthesizer and percussive clinks slowly encroaching on the track, occasionally picking up into full bass-drops and drum machine hits. To fit in with the minor-key fare, Beyoncé and Drake stick to the shadows. "F*** what you heard your mine, your mine," Beyoncé proclaims. In the past, she would've wailed the line into oblivion, here she holds back, barely rising above a whisper. Drake's in self-conscious confidence mode, s***-talking one moment and sincerely apologizing the next. His lothario side is largely tempered to fit the couple on the verge of commitment vibes. Call it next level if you'd like, tracks like "Mine" make it clear that on Beyoncé everyone's working on the same level, and she's leading the way.