In By the Numbers, FADER looks at a big record release and breaks it down in basic digits. With her surprise album BEYONCÉ, Beyoncé broke digital sales records and topped that charts in over 100 countries. She also rejected sexual suffocation, openly defying her parents and demanding some room to act filthy in her imperfect marriage. Here, counting in babies held, nipples pierced and flaws embraced, we chart the way she’s claimed the gray area where love and sex intersect as her own to play in.
By design, By the Numbers is narrow in scope. For more on what the album means for Beyoncé and for women, as well as how it stacks up in Bey’s catalog, start with FADER’s discussion of its videos, Rookie’s roundtable, Real Colored Girls’ critique of its tactics, Tim Finney’s review and Judnick Mayard’s personal essay. naomi zeichner