Ten years after Beyoncé and Jay-Z first worked together on "'03 Bonnie And Clyde
" the now-married pair reprised their roles on this tune. Beyoncé hadn't included a song with her husband on her previous two albums – their previous collaborations had been "Deja Vu
" and "Upgrade U" from her B'Day
set. However, Bey did contribute to Jay's Magna Carta Holy Grail
track, "Part II (On The Run)
" earlier in 2013.
One of the more overtly sexual tracks on the album, it finds Beyonce singing about making love while intoxicated over producer Noel "Detail" Fisher's shimmering synths and skittering drums. Jay takes things further rapping about "foreplay in the foyer" as well as a rhyme comparing Beyonce's breasts to breakfast (not a lyric we want to hear whilst eating the first meal of the day). He also makes one of his frequent Andy Warhol references (previous namechecks for the pop art artist include on "Illest Motherf---er Alive ("Basquiats, Warhols serving as my muses") and "Picasso Baby
" ("Surrounded by Warhols, my whole team ball").
The Beyoncé album was released on December 13, 2013 with no advance notice. Little new music is released in mid-December, so it got plenty of attention. None of the tracks were designated as singles, but "Drunk In Love" proved to be the most popular song based on radio play and downloads.
Typically, radio stations get songs before they are released, but the album was sent to stations and issued digitally at the same time. Radio programmers scrambled to get the songs on their playlists, and often explained the surprise release on the air, which helped stoke the promotional fire. By Monday, the album had sold over 617,000 copies on iTunes.
Writing this song was a group effort: eight different songwriters are credited. In addition to Beyoncé and Jay Z, Timbaland (who also co-produced the track), gets a credit along with:
Boots (Jordy Asher)
Andre Eric Proctor
The black-and-white video was directed by Hype Williams and filmed on August 16, 2013 in Golden Beach, Miami at a beach-front manse that Beyoncé rented out for the shoot. The singer had a blast shooting the clip as she didn't obsess about the planning. "Drunk in Love was the] most organic shoot I've ever done," said the star. "I wanted to carry this idea of being in the moment and embracing mistakes and effortlessness into the videos. I wish every video was like 'Drunk.'"
This song has an unusual structure with no bridge, pre-chorus or vocal breaks - just four repetitions of verse/chorus (A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B). The song is about 60% verse, and we don't hear the first chorus until 1:12 in. In an age when most hit songs get quickly to the chorus, this is uncommon. The song is also particularly long by hit standards, running 5:23.
Beyoncé recorded this song in early 2013 before she began her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. It stemmed from Detail's "really hard" beat and was recorded during a party with the producer, Jay-Z and Timbaland. "I kind of free styled the verse, and Jay went in and he started flowing out his verse - we just kinda had a party," she recalled in a video. "It was so great, because it wasn't about any ego, we weren't trying to make a hit record. we were just having fun. and I think you can hear that in the record."
Jay-Z and Beyoncé performed this song to open the Grammy Awards ceremony in 2014. Jamie Foxx made reference to it later in the show when he presented the award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. "I have to apologize to Jay-Z," he said. "Did you see Beyoncé when she came out? I was like, 'Blue Ivy's mom is hot!'"
Rolling Stone chose this as their best song of 2014. They said: "This future-pop fantasy was the sexiest thing on the radio, from the heavy bass throb to the wild thrill in her voice when she sings about juicy nights ('I get filthy when that liquor get into me'), hung-over mornings and, uh, surfboards. So steamy, even her famous husband's uncomfortable Ike Turner joke couldn't kill the vibe."