Beyoncé's 'Hold Up' is the Perfect 2016 Piece of Music

The 'LEMONADE' highlight is also co-produced by Diplo, and quotes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Soulja Boy. What does it all mean?

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Below, for your perusal, are the full credits for Beyoncé’s “Hold Up,” the second song on her new album/HBO-premiered visual album LEMONADE. Those who watched the 57-minute special during its premiere (or 24-hour free availability on HBO streaming) will recognize the same chorus from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s 2003 hit “Maps” and, of course, Beyoncé in that saffron, ruffled gown smashing car windows and setting buildings on fire:

Written By Thomas Wesley Pentz, Ezra Koenig, Beyoncé, Emile Haynie, Joshua Tillman, Uzoechi Emenike, Sean Rhoden P/K/A Melo-X, Doc Pomus, Mort Schuman, Deandre Way, Antonio Randolph, Kelvin Mcconnell, Brian Chase, Karen Orzolek And Nick Zinner / Published By Songs Music Publishing, Llc (Ascap) Obo I Like Turtles Music, Neon Reggae Co-Op City, Wb Music Corp. (Ascap) And Oakland 13 Music (Ascap) All Rights Administered By Wb Music Corp. Obo Itself And Oakland 13 Music, Universal Music Corp./Heavycrate Publishing (Ascap), Sugar Pop Meow Meow (Ascap), Warner/Chappell Music Ltd. (Prs), Meloxtra Publishing (Bmi) , Unichappell Music, Inc. (Bmi), 456 Music Associates (Bmi) All Rights Administered By Unichappell Music, Inc. (Bmi), Soulja Boy Tell’em Music (Bmi) Emi Blackwood Music Inc./Disaster Publishing/Big-N-Mage Publishing (Bmi) Chrysalis Music Ltd/Bmg Blue (Bmi). All Rights Administered By Bmg Rights Management (Us) Llc / Produced By Diplo, Beyoncé And Ezra Koenig / Vocal Production By Beyoncé / Background Vocals By Melo-X / Guitar By Jr Blender / Drum Programming By Diplo And Jr Blender / Mixed And Recorded By Stuart White / Assisted By Jon Shacter / Second Engineering By Ramon Rivas / Assistant Mix Engineering By John Cranfield / Recorded At Record Plant Studios In Los Angeles, Ca And Mad Decent Studios In Burbank, Ca / Mixed At Pacifique Recording Studios In North Hollywood, Ca / Pacifique Studio Assistant: Arthur Chambazyan / Mastered By Dave Kutch Of The Mastering Palace Nyc At Pacifique Recording Studios, North Hollywood, Ca
Contains Elements Of “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” Written By Doc Pomus And Mort Shuman. Published By Unichappell Music, Inc. (Bmi) And 456 Music Associates (Bmi) All Rights Administered By Unichappell Music, Inc. (Bmi).
This Composition Embodies Portion Of “Turn My Swag On Written By Deandre Way, Antonio Randolph And Kelvin Mcconnell. Published By Soulja Boy Tell’em Music (Bmi), Emi Blackwood Music Inc./Disaster Publishing/Big-N-Mage Publishing (Bmi)
Contains Elements Of “Maps” Written By Brian Chase, Karen Orzolek And Nick Zinner, Published By Chrysalis Music Ltd/Bmg Blue (Bmi). All Rights Administered By Bmg Rights Management (Us) Llc.

Holy fucking shit! This puts most pop albums’ extensive teamwork to shame. It makes Kanye, the former collaborative god of 2016, with his densely populated Life of Pablo — look like Reggie Watts.

In truth, though, Beyoncé has always been a pioneer of uncharacterizable collage music; one of the wackiest and most genre-bending songs of the past half-decade to hit the Top 40 was her 2011 single “Countdown.” In that song, which laid the groundwork for the most adventurous directions she would pursue on her 2014’s self-titled album, the singer explores reggae, old-school soul, Latin pop, world folk styles, and samples Boyz II Men.

“Hold Up,” the song you will likely start singing after a couple of listens to the incendiary LEMONADE, is not as erratic musically. Nonetheless, just looking through these credits demonstrates all the disparate, and seemingly contradictory influences that bear on the song. As pop music struggles to find a way forward, this kind of overkill and stylistic amalgamation gets the most interesting results.

An interesting trend in pop music of the past year is watching former “indie”-classified icons come into their own as aspiring pop stars. “Hold Up”’s primary architect seems to be Diplo, whose recent chart-topping work with Skrillex and Justin Bieber, as well as his duo with Major Lazer, has catapulted him to being more in-demand than he’s ever been across his diverse, almost-20-year career.

But there’s also former Vampire Weekend-er Ezra Koenig, whose ex-bandmate Rostam Batmanglij essentially left the band to become a full-time pop producer. His music has always toyed with pop gestures, but the crazy, thoroughly 2010s moment that gave birth to “Hold Up” shows that pop may have just swallowed up the genre formerly known as “indie-pop” whole, and that URL is IRL:

That’s right: Diplo was helping to produce a Vampire Weekend song —around a long sample from this 1962 soft-pop single, because those beloved VW Afrobeat guitars were passé— but the band was fading, so Beyoncé got a hold of it. So that means that Beyoncé recorded a Vampire Weekend song, which basically borrows its chorus from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. And then Bey added a quote from a 2008 Soulja Boy hit:

Meanwhile, the polarizing, crustily bearded Joshua Tillman, aka Father John Misty — who was once just a drummer for the Fleet Foxes before becoming a meta-Lothario, Leonard Cohen-indebted singer/songwriter — is skulking in the background here. Hes not credited on programming and chief production along with Diplo and Koenig, so we have to wonder: Were he and Queen Bey actually sitting around with notepads together? Did he sign off on “Never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets”?

Tillman is in Lana del Rey videos now, and covering pop tunes on the regular these days, so I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But honestly, what is the world coming to? The answer is: anything. Sidebar: Beyonce’s album also credits Animal Collective — for the Weekend-featuring “6 Inch” — because a song ended up inadvertently quoting their 2009 crossover hit “My Girls.”

Some say indie is dead, and perhaps it is. But some of its most high-profile voices are finding new ways to influence culture, in subversively edging their way into the pop sphere (Did we mention James Blake crops up on two songs on LEMONADE, too?) We’re not expecting F.J. Misty to become the Justin Vernon to Beyonce’s Kanye. But nonetheless, listening to “Hold Up” and seeing what makes it tick offers a pretty fascinating insight into all the trends that are influencing pop these days; it incorporates basically all of them. After all, Rihanna just dropped a 6-minute Tame Impala cover, after hitting the top of the charts with, essentially, a pop-ified Atlanta trap record just a few months earlier.

What’s next? There’s a pretty great country song on LEMONADE; will Sturgill Simpson credits pop up on the new Ariana Grande record?

The melting pot of pop becomes ever more confusing, as each new “event album” trickles out. It’s like everyone realizes that #WTF contributors and surprise album dates help make trending topics, and is competing for the wildest credits list. The rest of us are just going through this thing called life — either feeling old, or staying glued to the screen.