Surprise album drops aren’t new for Beyoncé fans, but the pop star managed to catch music lovers unaware once again on Wednesday by debuting an unexpected live concert album as a companion to the highly anticipated film of her famed Coachella gig.
Homecoming: The Live Album was released overnight across streaming platforms such as Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music and Tidal.
It’s the singer’s first solo album since her influential Lemonade, which she only released on Tidal, the service she co-owns with rapper husband Jay-Z, and to physical retailers in 2016.
The new album arrived as the Beyhive — the singer’s hardcore fanbase — began diving into Netflix’s Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, a live concert film offering a behind-the-scenes look at her critically acclaimed appearances at last year’s edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The choreo. The dancers. The band. The precision. The dedication. The perseverance. The intentionality. The discipline. How can you not be inspired after seeing this film? <br><br>What a time to be alive. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beyonc%C3%A9Homecoming?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BeyoncéHomecoming</a> <a href=”https://t.co/O41Kfq2foa”>pic.twitter.com/O41Kfq2foa</a>
Previously unannounced, the companion album presents her pair of Coachella performances as a 40-track release. The set list also includes bonus material, including a cover of Before I Let Go, a modest 1981 R&B hit by soul and funk group Maze.
Homecoming follows the singer’s 2018’s Everything Is Love, a collaborative album she and Jay-Z (billed as The Carters) released during their concert tour.
Beyoncé, who postponed her appearance at Coachella for a year due to the birth of her twins Rumi and Sir, was the first black woman to headline the popular American music festival.
Her 2018 performances — one for each of the festival’s two weekends and dubbed Beychella by fans — became a sensation widely hailed as an ode to black culture inspired by America’s historically black college and universities.
In the Netflix film, Beyoncé offers a peek into the gruelling effort she put into creating the show, including revealing personal details about complications she encountered while pregnant with twins and her attempt to balance family life with a return to the stage.
This story originally appeared on CBC