The song: It's generally pretty major news when one of the biggest pop stars in the world drops a new song — which is why it was such a surprise when Beyonce unceremoniously posted her new song "Bow Down / I Been On" to her website on Sunday afternoon with virtually no fanfare. (Listen to the song below.) The new track, which is the first song Beyonce has recorded since the birth of daughter Blue Ivy in January 2012, finds Bey in a particularly fierce mood: While she employs a variety of musical styles in the dense, layered song, she also spends the first part of it chanting "bow down, bitches" in an implicit critique of younger pop stars that followed in her path. Should we all show our respect, or does "Bow Down / I Been On" find Beyonce on an off day?
The reaction: Beyonce is taking an "aggressive, in-your-face approach that has some fans in love and others still undecided," says Jocelyn Vena at MTV News. Yes, this is definitely something new for the singer — but did it have to be so slight? asks Aisha Harris at Slate. Though "Bow Down / I Been On" is "a decent filler track, it's fairly underwhelming," and it "will probably only satisfy the most ardent of Beyonce fans — those already inclined to bow down." Then again, "the song amassed over a million streams on Soundcloud in less than 24 hours, which must be some sort of record," says Rich Juzwiak at Gawker — so maybe Sasha Fierce knows what she's doing.