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Hear Me Out: Beyoncé, '7/11'

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7/11

On Beyoncé’s latest single, the phrase “7/11” takes on an entirely new meaning: being fresh is a full-time job. With the Platinum Edition reissue of the 2013 bombshell “Beyoncé,” Queen Bey has released a new single that is simultaneously disarming and calculated.

The track is hip-hop-driven, propelled by a trap percussive beat and a funky vocal rhythm. The relatively straightforward opening verses simply describe the singer’s actions—she swings side to side, smacks “it” in the air (“it” being ambiguous), claps, and spins. The single’s music video makes great use of these descriptions, showing Beyoncé performing these actions with pep, often accompanied by backup dancers. After a little more than a minute of this, however, the song moves into a slightly more aggressive register with a double-time feel and more textured beats. Shouts of “drank” and wordless Nicki-Minaj-style screams are sprinkled behind lyrics about alcohol and rolling dice. The beat is infectious—this section compels one to start dancing, if only because Beyoncé tells the listener that she “[knows] you thinkin’ ’bout alcohol.”

After this bridge, the track returns to the same trap/hip-hop mixture of the first section before launching into a slightly slower, calmer outro that gestures towards winding down after a night out. Beyoncé asserts herself as she crows a drawn-out “fresher than you,” followed by a laugh. The emotions here are less frantic than those of the opening of the track, with lyrics that are more varied. A sense of control and comfortability comes through, and the calm finish complements the track’s initial burst of energy.

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There are moments during “7/11” that mesh well with the sound of the “Beyoncé” album as a whole—the final section, for example, evokes the same swaggering feel of “Drunk in Love,” with Beyoncé’s lilting delivery of “Sweatin’ out my blow out / sweatin’ out my press.” But mostly, this piece stands alone as a fun, bouncing party song, which fits well with the filming style of the music video. It’s refreshing to dance around to a track that seems to be aware of how seemingly conventional it is—Beyoncé’s use of autotune is definitely not a mistake. It’s a calculated move. She knows what she’s doing, just as she indicates with the lyrics: “Clap, clap, clap like you don’t care / I know you care.” As much as we pretend to be cool and cynical, Beyoncé knows that, at the end of the day, we very much do care about having fun.

“Beyoncé: Platinum Edition” was released on Nov. 24 via Parkwood/Columbia.

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