In the nine months since Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album on an unsuspecting world, the track “Flawless” has grown from one of the more enjoyable surprises in a thoroughly surprising album–a quasi-manifesto that synthesizes diva-level self-appreciation and blunt real talk about female existence in a patriarchal world, delivered with an instantly memorable hook–into a cultural behemoth. The word “flawless” (or, better yet, “#flawless”) condenses everything that Beyoncé and her featured guest, award-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talks about in the song down into two syllables that somehow contain an entire philosophy of self-love and self-actualization. No wonder it’s been inescapable all year.
Despite the song’s popularity, Bey and her label haven’t released it as an official single. Or maybe it’s because of that popularity–when something grows so big in such an organic way, giving it a traditional professional marketing push could end up ruining a good thing. Either way, the song whose title is emblazoned on most Beyoncé merch is officially just an album cut.