Surprise! A new album from Beyonce

It's the album no one saw coming.

Beyonce takes us to the roller disco in the upbeat dance number, Blow. Nice hot pants

There was no word on Twitter, no sneaky snippets of video on Instagram, no tracks leaked to radio. Nothing, nada, zilch.

And then, like an early Christmas present straight from Santa himself, it arrived: a brand new album by the world's biggest superstar Beyoncé.

Never one to do thing by halves, not only did Mrs Carter give us a brand-spanking new album but also 17 (yes, 17!) never-before-seen videos and even a fresh alter ego. Yup, say goodbye to Sasha Fierce, these days it's all about Yoncé, who's finer, funkier and fitter than Sasha ever was, a cigar-smoking badass who rolls around with supermodels Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls and Chanel Iman.

The self-titled album sent the internet into meltdown.

Twitter erupted and iTunes crashed as fans tweeted their shock and raced to buy the 14 new tracks.

The bold move has outdone anything the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift could dream up. Shunning all the usual promotion and pomp, it's already been described as 'genius' and a 'game changer'.

Even Katy Perry, herself a global megastar, had to admit defeat. "B done broke the internet," she tweeted "Don't talk to me today unless it's about @Beyonce THANX."

Beyoncé described the project, which she announced for free on Instagram, as a 'visual album'.

"I see music. It’s more than just what I hear.' the 32-year-old mother to Blue Ivy said in a statement. "When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.

"I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans."

The album and videos feature collaborations with some of the biggest stars in the world, including hubby Jay Z, Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, Frank Ocean, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Drake and even baby Blue.

But what can fans expect? Well, there's the dancey Blow, which features a hotpant-clad Bey in a roller disco, and funky, soulful Drunk in Love, which comes with an arty black and white video shot in Brazil.

Rocket has an old-school feeling and a seriously sexy video, which brings us back to Yoncé, which, to use a phrase never before seen in the Express & Star, is straight-up gangsta, yo.

To see all 17 new Beyonce videos, click here