By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Without warning, Beyonce shocked us all and crashed the internet when she surprise-dropped her 5th studio album on Friday the 13th.

The reaction thus far has been immensely positive, with many calling the completely-out-of-nowhere move game-changing, and others referring to the self-titled release as her best, most mature body of work. While I agree that visually and artistically, this is her best album to date, I have hesitations considering this game-changing simply because most artists do not have the massive fanbase, marketing budget or resources to pull off this feat. I applaud her courage and innovation in taking a risk to release music in a way that is unheard of, yet I recognize this monumental undertaking will be nearly impossible for a majority of artists who stand on the lower prongs of the music industry ladder.

With that aside, I specifically wanted to address the track Pretty Hurts. In a sea of shallow bullsh*t, Beyonce has once again dived into the deep end – this time covering the topic of mainstream beauty and the pressure for girls to be beautiful physically above all else. The video depicts Beyonce playing a beauty pageant queen who is criticized harshly for her outer shell, stumbling through tiaras on a journey to discover that harsh universal truth: That happiness can’t be found in bodily perfection.

Mama said, you’re a pretty girl / What’s in your head it doesn’t matter / Brush your hair, fix your teeth / What you wear is all that matters … Pretty hurts / Shine the light on whatever’s worse / Perfection is the disease of a nation / Pretty hurts / Shine the light on whatever’s worse / Try’na fix something / But you can’t fix what you can’t see / It’s the soul that needs the surgery.

The video treatment is imperfectly flawless.

In a time in pop culture when twerking is on everyone’s lips, this track and the substance behind it are completely and utterly refreshing. And dare I say, game-changing? Music is more than sales and remaining ahead of the game — it’s about reaching people — and Beyonce has always understood that, connecting with fans and critics alike in a way that’s authentic and heartfelt.

Watch Pretty Hurts (directed by Melina Matsoukas) below.

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