When approaching the creation of a new album as an established artist, a huge difficulty can be the task of surpassing previous success by taking the music one step further than before. This is especially true for Queen B herself: the bar is not exactly low when it comes to her music and past endeavours. Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE has a lot to live up to.
Listening to the album as a whole, it rapidly becomes clear that Beyoncé has opted for an eclectic mix of songs that draw from a long list of genres. She is using this latest release to really lean into every corner of every style that her vocals can manage. The opening track I’M THAT GIRL grabs the attention as it weaves through different styles, rhythms and moods. The format of the album is summarised within its first three minutes, showing us that we’re getting a bit of everything.
RENAISSANCE also sprinkles us with a range of emotions and themes in the lyrics. Born during lockdown, the album is said to have provided Beyoncé with an escapism from the tough times of the pandemic. The strong dancefloor motif is prominent throughout, rekindling the fun and frolic of nights out that were missed so sorely during that period. This is presented via the spectrum of dance genres that run sporadically across the sixteen tunes.
On top of this, many tracks are laced with self-love and confidence, as Bey empowers herself with lyrics such as on COZY. The line ‘cozy with who I am’ shines out of the music, which, combined with the bouncy bass line and iconic tresillo rhythm, makes for a song that will leave anyone feeling fulfilled and happy within themselves.
Although artist-wise the official collaborations are limited, you can peel back the songs to reveal some legendary producers including No I.D. and Hit-Boy. The samples heard in many of the songs are also taken from an impressive array of musicians.
The rest of the record continues to starburst into a cocktail of genres, whether it be the upbeat funk of CUFF IT or the floor-filling house sound of BREAK MY SOUL. Beyoncé leads us through musical turbulence, even reviving her impressive rapping style for a selection of tunes to give the album even more variety.
This release is actually only ‘Act 1’ of RENAISSANCE, as there promises to be another two instalments. With this in mind, it is staggering that this first offering provides so much in terms of musical detail and variety. Beyoncé has well and truly outdone herself here, and the imminent releases of the other ‘Acts’ should send excitement rippling through her fanbase.