Well, here's some news we didn't expect this morning: Beyonce has released an unannounced and unexpected brand new album overnight.

The album - simply titled Beyonce - is the billed as a 'visual album' and is available on iTunes. The record features 14 tracks and 17 accompanying videos - all of which can seen immediately.

The unexpected release caused a social media storm overnight, briefly causing iTunes to crash as fans rushed to the online music vendor in droves.

The singer was expected to release a follow-up to her album 4 next year but has considerably jumped the gun, releasing the record without any fanfare whatsoever.

Guests on the new record include Beyonce's fella Jay Z, as well as Drake, Frank Ocean. Beyonce's daughter Blue Ivy, on a track called 'Blue'.

One reason this out-of-the-blue release was kept secret, perhaps, was to combat the growing epidemic of music piracy which is blighting almost all high-profile album releases nowadays.

Beyonce, speaking of the visual aspect of the release, said: "I see music. It's more than just what I hear. 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."

Yesterday Beyonce announced plans for three dates in Dublin's The O2 next year. 

The tracklisting for Beyonce is:

'Pretty Hurts'
'Drunk in Love' (Featuring JAY Z)
'Mine' (Featuring Drake)
'Flawless' (Featuring/ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
'Superpower' (Featuring Frank Ocean)
'Blue' (Featuring Blue Ivy)

Image: Beyonce - 'Partition' // YouTube