Beyoncé's fifth album is a self-contained work in a unique way — most of us had to buy it all at once via iTunes, and each song came with its own video — but the stunning, stealth long-player still has its share of potential radio hits. One that looms largest is "XO," which (aside from being probably the only song that could ever plausibly reclaim an image like "crashing into you") has a grandly swaying hook that makes the one from Jessie Ware's "Wildest Moments" sound understated.
Still out on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour," Queen B performed "XO" live for the first time over the weekend in Chicago, asking her audience for a little call-and-response sing-along help. The results, which you can watch through fan footage above, were worthy of Bey's saying the moment was "something I'll never forget."
The 17-track Beyoncé, which we formally reviewed today after impulsively reviewing the collection on December 13, continues to post remarkable sales numbers. With only three hours of sales, the album already looked poised to top the charts, and now it's all but official: The set sold more than 430,000 units from its surprise 9 p.m. PST December 12 release to the end of December 13, according to Billboard.
The final numbers, which won't come in until Wednesday, December 18, could exceed 600,000, but even 430,000 copies are enough to give the album the best opening sales week by a female artist since Taylor Swift's Red moved 1.2 million units a little more than a year ago.
Team B must be well aware that "XO" has big potential. According to Billboard's sources, the Ryan Tedder- and the-Dream-written song will be the third single from Beyoncé, following Pharrell Williams production "Blow" and Jay Z team-up "Drunk in Love." It's too late to adjust SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2013 or SPIN's 50 Best Songs of 2013 lists, but 2014 is starting off with a Bey.