Beyoncé's New-Old Demo of "Sorry" Is Genius In-Progress
'Lemonade' is finally available on all streaming services and includes the original version to "Sorry."
Photo by Larry Busacca/PW18/GettyImages for Parkwood Entertainment
Beyoncé has managed to make April feel like Christmas. Last week, she released HOMECOMING, a two-hour Netflix special detailing last year's historic Coachella performance, along with a 40-track live album of the performance. When you wonder how the storied singer will outdo herself, she exceeds all expectations. Just last year, Beyoncé bragged about Lemonade's TIDAL exclusivity on her joint album with Jay-Z, Everything is Love. "If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers / Would've put Lemonade up on Spotify," she sang on "NICE." Luckily for us, she's changed her tune. Lemonade is available on streaming services for the first time since it's release three years ago—and it ends with a new (but, technically old) version of "Sorry."
We'd gotten used to the version of "Sorry" we thought we knew. It quickly became an anthemic for the way it discarded a failed relationship with swagger and vulgarity. Did we think we'd ever see the day when Beyoncé sang "Suck on my balls, pause?" Absolutely not. The tempo was one you grooved to, but that didn't stop Serena Williams from twerking in her crown in the music video. The song's playful demeanor could be internalized as one of false threats, but Bey makes it clear that she means business by the end of the song. "I left a note in the hallway, by the time you read it I'll be far away," she says over the deconstructed beat. This version felt perfect and because it made the original release of Lemonade, it probably is. Beyoncé, however, was kind enough to share her rough draft with us.
The original demo begins the way the popular version of the song ends. "Big homie better hold up," she sings, establishing this cadence for the first half of the song. The lyrics are largely unchanged, except this line: "Young woadies 'bout to roll up, my woadies 'bout to stroll up / They coming through the back door," she sings. She's gone from "sneaking out the back door" to flee a failing relationship to using that same vantage point to allow her entourage to enter menacingly. The verses that follow a breathy declaration of wanting to live young, wild, and free underscore parts of The Carters relationship we'd heard elsewhere. "Hell no, I ain't gon call you back / Chase me round the world, just to fall back," she sings, which mirrors Jay's bar about chasing his wife through Europe on 4:44. "Sorry"'s original demo was already good, but knowing she took the time to perfect it makes it even better. It makes you wonder though, what other perfectly good demos she been sitting on?
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.