Don't Hurt Yourself
by Beyoncé (featuring Jack White)

Album: Lemonade (2016)
Charted: 36 28

Songfacts®:

  • The Lemonade album follows a storyline of Beyoncé discovering and coming to terms with Jay-Z's fictional or real-life cheating. This angry and sweary rock number finds her venting her rage at her husband's infidelity.
  • This bluesy rocker features Jack White as co-vocalist and bassist. Beyonce's fellow Tidal co-owner also co-produced the track, which contains his usual studio tricks of vocal distortion and prominent drums.
  • White also layers on a sample of a classic rock song, Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks." Fragments of the the classic rock number can also be heard on Bjork's "Army of Me," Beastie Boys' "Rhymin & Stealin" and Sophie B. Hawkins' "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover."
  • Wynter Gordon co-wrote the song. The African-American singer- songwriter first came to prominence when she co-wrote and sung the hook on Flo Rida's world-wide hit, "Sugar." Gordon later had her own hit with "Dirty Talk," which topped the Australian singles chart and also went Top 40 in the UK. She also co-wrote and coproduced the Lemonade track "Sorry" and has a writing credit on "Daddy Lessons."
  • Accompanying Beyonce's raspy fearsome growl is frequent White backing vocalist and solo artist Ruby Amanfu. The Nashville-based songstress has had songs cut by such performers as Kelly Clarkson and CCM singer Rachel Lampa.

    Amanfu told Billboard magazine about her contribution; "I sang all of the backing vocals on the song. I wanted to utilize more of an operatic vocal style, which I love to sing from time to time. In the verses, you'll notice it's sparse and staggered, like quick breaths - which I love, because to me it sounds almost like gasps processing every word of Beyoncé's lyrics. Then we layered my vocals at least eight times in the choruses and whatnot to create that fuller choral sound you hear in the other parts of the songs."
  • Speaking on NPR's show All Things Considered, White recalled how Beyoncé created the tune: "She took the sketch of a lyrical outline and turned it into the most bodacious, vicious, incredible song," he said. "I don't even know what you'd classify it as: soul, rock & roll, whatever. 'Don't Hurt Yourself' is incredibly intense. I'm so amazed at what she did with it."

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