Beyoncé has released her new, self-titled album online overnight with no fanfare, marketing campaign or lead-up. We knew she would put out a record next year – earlier this week, the chairman of her record label said the singer will “obviously” put out a new album some time 2014 – but today? It’s Bowie levels of surprise. The Twitter world is in an extraordinary frenzy, like heady ants before their queen bee as she blasts them with a ton of pheromones. ‘Beyoncé’ was even a topic on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. But is it the best Christmas present ever or most stressful album drop of all time? My cortisol levels are a bit high right now and here’s why.

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Who has time to watch 17 videos?
You know when you go to the supermarket to buy a packet of crisps and it takes you 45 minutes because there are a million options and you leave feeling paralysed and a bit sad? It’s similarly difficult to know where to start with Beyoncé’s visual album. You can’t watch all of them because you’re probably at work or class but you want to watch one, especially when it sounds Beyoncé will be unveiling her soul:

I see music. It’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music

It Made You Late For Work
Wake up, get out of bed, check Twitter. “BEYONCE HAS JUST RELEASED A NEW SECRET ALBUM. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” You start downloading the album from iTunes and as your computer crashes you know it’s a choice between breakfast or Beyoncé. Breakfast or Beyoncé. Breakfast or Beyoncé. You go for the latter but you’re still late for work. And when you get on the train/tube/bus you realise even though you made sure to eject properly half the songs haven’t downloaded properly. FML.

NME

What Shall I Play On The Radio?
Admittedly this affects a mere few of us but with no buzz singles or obvious entry points, what song should breakfast presenters play first?

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Should I Buy Another Ticket To the Mrs Carter World Tour?
You had a gas at the Mrs Carter World Tour earlier this year but this changes everything. Should you buy tickets on Monday when they come out? Can you afford it with all the Christmas presents? Is it too late to take the morning off work to ensure ticket buying success? I can’t be the only one who’s got The Fear.

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What Does This Mean For A Destiny’s Child Reunion?
Almost a year ago ‘Nuclear’ appeared on Soundcloud, the first Destiny’s Child song since the split in 2005. Then came the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show. Cue rumours and whisperings about an album and more shows. Who knows what’s going on now.

I’ve Never Heard Of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Who Is She??
Don’t panic, she’s not a trap artist you’ve never heard of. Adichie is an award-winning writer from Nigeria. Her books include Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah. She contributes a verse on the song ‘Flawless’ about societal expectations of women and marriage. Here’s the beginning:

“We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls
‘You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man'”

NME

It’s NME’s Christmas Party today
Which means we were meant to finish around lunchtime. I don’t even know when I’m going to be able to eat a sausage roll at this rate. It’s Beyoncé’s Day now.

Apart from all that, on first listen, it sounds pretty damn amazing.

‘Beyonce’ tracklist:

‘Haunted’
‘Pretty Hurts’
‘Drunk in Love’ (Featuring JAY Z)
‘Blow/Cherry’
‘Yoncé/Partition’
‘Jealous’
‘Rocket’
‘Mine’ (Featuring Drake)
‘XO’
‘Flawless’ (Featuring/ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
‘Superpower’ (Featuring Frank Ocean)
‘Heaven’
‘Blue’ (Featuring Blue Ivy)

NME