Beyoncé Broke the Internet Again with a Music Video Shot Inside the Louvre

Jay-Z and Beyoncé in front of the Mona Lisa
[Photo credit: Youtube/Beyoncé]

At this point in pop culture history, we should all probably wake up each morning wondering if today’s the day Beyoncé will drop another surprise album.

After all, her last two offerings — 2016’s Lemonade and 2013’s Beyoncé — were thrust into the public consciousness without so much as a warning. There was no advance marketing, no record-label announcement. They weren’t, and then they were.

And each time, it has thrown the Internet into a full-blown frenzy, as people marvel not only over her music and powerful social messages, but the fact that once again she was able to keep it all secret and drop an entire album unexpectedly on our digital doorsteps.

And this past Saturday, she managed to do it again. The album, Everything is Love, is a joint effort with her husband, Jay-Z, released under their shared surname, the Carters. But so far most of the hype has surrounded Beyoncé herself, and the music video for the first single “Apes**t,” which seems ready to announce its place in art history.

The video was shot inside the Louvre, the French museum that houses the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. And while the song’s title doesn’t exactly scream “art,” the video seems to be sending a message: what we consider to be high art will and must evolve. As Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and their dancers (all black women) fill the revered institution and take their place next to icons of history and culture, they highlight the oppositional relationship the upper-case Art World has had to much black art. As Bey and Jay stand proudly in front of the Mona Lisa, and it seems they’re getting ready to smash old expectations.

The video itself looks like 45 billion bucks (the estimated value of the Louvre and its artworks), full of beautiful shots of both the art itself and of the dancers performing carefully coordinated choreography. And somehow, with all of this opulence and beuaty, Beyoncé herself remains at the forefront.

In response to the album’s drop, the full spectrum of Beyoncé commentators has shown up: lovers loving, haters hating, and conspiracy theorists spouting off about the Illuminati (a small but vocal contingent continues to insist she’s a member of the evil secret society). But this time there’s also another group getting vocal: art historians, who have taken to Twitter to teach us more about the amazing pieces the video highlights, and other artworks that it references.

The album, aside from tackling the art world, also seems to reaffirm Jay and Bey’s relationship after Lemonade expressed the anger and heartbreak of infidelity. They show a united front in the video, and musically as well. If this album’s title is to be believed, the Carters are still going strong.

The album was initially released only on Tidal, Jay-Z’s own subscription streaming service, but it’s now on Spotify and Apple Music, much to the relief of Tidal’s critics.

You now officially have no excuse not to check it out.