Beyonce Marks Time Cover With Beauty-Redefining 'Pretty Hurts' Video

Watch the opening opus from singer's stunning 2013 visual album

Beyoncé,
Beyoncé in the "Pretty Hurts" video
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

As Beyoncé's late-2013 surprise visual album Beyoncé keeps rumbling across the pop landscape, one notable series of aftershocks has been the singer's casual turn toward political statements. A January op-ed arguing that women should get equal pay wasn't going to land her a job writing front-of-the-book pieces for The New Yorker, but it was less misleading about the statistics than most commentators of either political party. In March, she joined Facebook exec and Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg's "ban bossy" campaign. This, from a singer whose Destiny's Child once sang at George W. Bush's inauguration, in a move her mother said wasn't political.

"Pretty Hurts," the soaring self-affirmation anthem that opens Beyoncé and doubles as a searing critique of the beauty-industrial complex (that's a thing, right?), isn't political in a partisan sense, either, but at times it resembles a speech set to music: "Perfection is the disease of a nation" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. The Melina Metsoukas-directed video expands on the album version of the song, showing Mrs. Carter-Knowles as a young beauty pageant contestant, and it's a powerful piece of work.

Previously available for purchase as part of the visual album, the clip is streaming now to commemorate the singer's appearance on the cover of Time magazine's "most influential people" issue. Though Beyoncé can always be faulted by those who demand ideological purity, she's influential because she speaks to people beyond those who might already agree with her. And they listen, and watch, and so do we.

Check out the video over at Time until it's unlocked below.

SPIN's Best Music Videos of 2013

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