Beyoncé has put together her first single in over two years. The last time she put out new music was with the album 4 in 2011. It may have been a while since the woman produced new music, but she’s coming out of the gate fiercly with her new song “Bow Down/ I Been On.” There’s a lot going on musically in the new song that’s a little more abrasive than what we normally get from the singer.
Overly produced and full of assertive lyrics like “bow down Bitches” and “this is my shit,” the song is more rap than the mixture of pop, R&B, and rap we’ve come to expect from the star. The first part seems to be the “Bow Down” portion of the song and then partway through, there’s a seque to the “I Been On” portion of the track, which features some shoutouts to Willie D and other Houston-oriented musical names. I guess we should give her credit for thinking outside the box with producer Hit-Boy on this one, but this is about as pleasant to listen to as the yowling mews of two cats fighting in an alleyway. The track, in all its profanity, is available on Beyoncé’s Tumblr account.
After taking a break from music to spend some time with her family and new baby Blue Ivy, Beyoncé has spent several months carefully inserting herself back into the cultural lexicon. She mainly achieved this by nabbing the spotlight during the Super Bowl halftime show and putting together an intimate documentary that recently aired on HBO. Both of those were two steps forward to putting out a new album, but “Bow Down/I Been On” is a step in a questionable direction, if not a backward one.