Queen B obviously wanted to throw fans a curveball with the first single from her forthcoming LP, reportedly due this summer. "Run the World (Girls)" is a complex but catchy track that's actually more reminiscent of M.I.A. and Santigold (who have both worked extensively with producer Switch) than Sasha Fierce. The song combines a dancefloor-defying military drumbeat, a sample from Switch's group Major Lazer, an unconventional song structure and some incongruously pretty, layered melodics (which Beyoncé co-wrote with the-Dream) that are basically chanted but still employ B's full vocal range. The lyrics, however, are just as female-empowering as we've come to expect. There's much more to the song than first meets the ear-it confuses on first listen but coalesces beautifully with repeated plays.
And the Nominees Are: See the full list of Grammy 2014 Nominees