Album Review Beyoncé - Renaissance4 Stars
A masterclass in reinvention.
In its liner notes, Beyoncé explains that ‘Renaissance’, the superstar’s seventh album and ‘Act I’ of an apparent mysterious trilogy, is “a safe place, a place without judgement, a place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking.” In her search for such a space, she found herself as many others have: on the dancefloor. An album which serves as a call to “Release your anger / Release your mind / Release your job / Release the time / Release your trade / Release your stress / Release your love / Forget the rest” - as aptly chanted by guest Big Freedia through the album’s lead single, ‘Break My Soul’ - ‘Renaissance’ pays homage to, and celebrates, the clubs created by Black women and queer people for Black women and queer people, via an ode to fantasising about partying throughout the pandemic. Accordingly, disco and dance legends such as Grace Jones (who moves away from her previous rejection of “temporary attention” from collaborating with mainstream stars, by featuring within ‘Move’), Nile Rodgers, Donna Summer (‘I Feel Love’ finds itself joyfully interpolated within ‘Summer Renaissance’), Robin S. (nodded to on the aforementioned ‘Break My Soul’), and Honey Dijon all find themselves woven into the fabric of the album. However, the record also sees Beyoncé look beyond the halls of fame, using her platform to highlight under-represented stars such as Princess Loko (who opens the album) and New York drag artist Moi Renee (who is given their time to shine through the finale of the exuberant ‘Pure/Honey’). And unlike 2016’s iconic ‘Lemonade’, ‘Renaissance’ firmly embodies this world. No ballads or break up songs necessary, the album sits proudly at 16 tracks of pure energy. A masterclass in reinvention.
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