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Listen: Beyoncé's new song "Formation"

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Beyoncé knows how to steal the show.

A day before Super Bowl 50, the deity released a new song and video called "Formation." The song sounds more in line with her last release "7/11" — it's also riskier, filthier, angrier, and pulpier than her gigantic pop hits. The chorus is beguiling — I still can't shake the twangs out of my head — and lyrically, "Formation" is stuff that Bey has never sung before.

"My daddy Alabama / my mama Louisiana," she sings. "You mix that Negro with that Creole, make a Texas Bama."

The video is also a protest. It opens with Beyoncé squatting on a New Orleans police car that's halfway submerged in water, evoking memories of Hurricane Katrina. There's also a haunting image of Bey, draped in all black, holding up two middle fingers to the world, all in front of a Louisiana mansion. And toward the end of the video, there are cops in riot gear facing a little boy dancing; both the cops and the little boy put their hands in the air, evoking the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture.

Bey was already scheduled to perform during the halftime show with Coldplay — she sings on the band's new song "Hymn for the Weekend."

But that part on "Hymn" seemed a little too small for a star like Beyoncé on a stage as big as the Super Bowl halftime show. Now with the release of "Formation", Beyoncé's appearance and hyped performance makes more sense. And, well, it makes everything a little more exciting.

"Formation" is available on Tidal.

Watch Beyoncé perform "Formation" during Super Bowl 50's halftime show

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