In her seventh studio album, Renaissance, Beyonce turned public perception of her success story on its head with a successful recovery of dance history.
EXAM: Renaissance, Beyoncé (Columbia Records)
Beyoncé is born again; this time it’s on a glittering dance floor. But in her seventh studio album, Renaissance, she turned the public perception of her success story upside down.
Six years after her Grammy-winning lemonade, people expect Beyoncé to still deliver. But she doesn’t let herself be locked into her consistency, her perfectionism and her pop/R&B genre. She sings with confidence in Cozy, that she is “good about myself. Comfortable with who I am” and it shows in this 16-track hour-long album.
Her vocals glide with comfort and ease through this album of cohesive dance music influenced by black artists like disco queens Diana Ross and Donna Summer (Summer Renaissance), sampling Summer’s I Feel Love, Afrobeats (Move) and, surprisingly, Gen Z’s favorite fast kicks upbeat hyperpop (All Up In Your Mind).
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Each song is an adventurous, experimental journey into Beyonce’s pandemic psyche. In the album announcement posted on her Instagram, she said that creating this album gave her “a chance to dream and get away from it all during a scary time for the world.”
Beyoncé builds a nostalgic, fun, out-of-body, almost alien world filled with love, joy, and friendship in Renaissance. It’s a world devoid of the intensity of political, social and environmental challenges that she says will be present in 2022.
Speaking of an alien world, Alien Superstar, sampling Right Said Fred’s 90s hit I’m Too Sexy, pays homage to ballroom dancing culture. The singer boldly declares against a punchy beat and synth, that she’s “too classy for this world, forever, I’m that girl.”
The highlights of the album are largely due to the smooth transitions in each song like Cuff It and Energy. Cuff It begins as a fall-in-love disco/R&B fusion summertime anthem as Beyoncé proclaims she wants to fall in love with a drink in her hand. Cuff It switches to Energy, which begins with Jamaican American rapper BEAM.
The stars are Virgo’s Groove and Heated, which was co-written by Drake who released his own dance-inspired album earlier this summer. In both songs, Beyoncé enjoys a summer filled with partying, dancing and self-love but also romantic love, singing that her partner’s love keeps her alive in Virgo’s Groove.
The singer’s long-awaited album is a successful reconquest of dance music. She emphasizes the need to look outward and create a circle of love where people can step onto the dance floor without hesitation, without judgment – just dance.