When Beyoncé launched her self-titled visual album -- without so much as a hint -- on a late December night last year, the move jolted the industry.
The pop diva rewrote the rules of how superstar acts deliver music to fans, and she's now ensured all eyes are glued to her every move. Even now, we're still talking about the album.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the ambitious project, Beyoncé did what she does best: She paid tribute to herself.
On Friday, the singer issued a short film that served as part retrospect of the project and part diary.
The nearly 12-minute short, called "Yours and Mine," is an ethereal look at the singer's current meditations on the range of subjects she explored on the album. Fame, feminism (and humanism), marriage, death, sexuality and motherhood are all discussed.
In the black-and-white film, shots of the visuals that supported the album are spliced with behind-the-scenes glimpses and her everyday life (like you, Beyoncé brushes her teeth and wears face masks) as she narrates.
"I sometimes wish I could be anonymous walking down the street like everyone else," she muses early on in the film. "Now that I'm famous, it's really, really difficult to do very simple things. When you're famous, no one looks at you as a human being any more. You become property of the public. There's nothing real about it."
She discusses watching her mother aiming to please and how that rubbed off on her, before admitting that she's "no longer afraid of conflict" (which isn't a bad thing to her, by the way), going through painful experiences such as watching a friend deteriorate (in October, her official tour photographer, Yosra El-Essawy, died of cancer at age 33) and how she chooses to display her body.
"You can't put your finger on who I am," she says. "I can't put my finger on who I am. I am complicated."
Although she is at the top of her game -- she recently surpassed Dolly Parton as the most Grammy-nominated woman, and the album is up for a number of trophies, including album of the year -- and she easily dominated the pop conversation this year, it didn't come without its licks.
She's spent the last year being dogged with rumors and reports that she and superstar husband Jay Z were on the outs. And the talks heated up after video surfaced of her sister Solange attacking the rapper in an elevator. It was the rare crack in the close-knit family's finely crafted image and it ignited a firestorm of speculation that marred the first joint tour between the uber-famous couple, which was ultimately a sold-out affair that toyed with the narrative.
"Happiness comes from you," she offers at the tail end of the film. "No one else can make you happy. You make you happy. And one thing that's for sure: The love I have for the music, my husband, for my child -- it's something that will last far beyond my life."