When Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album in December of 2013, it shocked everyone. We had only heard snippets of songs in ads or online. No one really knew what Beyoncé had planned or when she’d have new music out. And when she did release it, it was at the end of the week, just in time for the weekend. Plus each song had a music video to go with it. The fact that Beyoncé was able to not only record so many songs, but also make videos for each and keep it come rely under wraps is impressive.
Now it’s February 2015 and we knew Drake would be releasing new music. We even heard a handful of songs in full. So I was less surprised when he suddenly dropped If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late this past week. I’m sitting here listening to it and it’s pretty much what I expect out of a Drake album. He wasn’t mysterious about anything like Beyoncé was. Don’t get me wrong, I love both, I was just more impressed with what Beyoncé released considering how it was presented.
I also felt more inclined to buy Beyoncé’s album because of the videos. At the time they weren’t on YouTube and the only way you could watch then was to buy it. You also couldn’t stream the album right away if I remember correctly. Drakes music was released and immediately went to all of the streaming services which made me less inclined to purchase it since I have a subscription for Rdio and can listen to it there.
Ultimately, surprise releases really come down to execution to determine how effective the surprise actually was. Had I not heard a handful of Drake songs not too long ago, I most definitely would have been more surprised by the release. In the industry today it’s difficult to keep albums quiet and not have any content leak, especially considering how quickly things spread via the internet. With that said I commend Beyoncé on what will possibly be the surprise album of the decade. Bold statement, I know. But I just can’t see anyone else pulling it off as well as Queen Bey did.