Released: July 29, 2022
Label: Parkwood • Columbia
Genre: dance • pop • R&B
Producer: BAH • Beam • Beyoncé Knowles-Carter • Boi-1da • Al Cres • Honey Dijon • Kelman Duran • Hit-Boy • Kali • Neenyo • No. I.D. • Nova Wav • P2J • Chris Penny • Luke Solomon • Syd Skrillex • Tricky Stewart • Sevn Thomas • The-Dream
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter never fails to impress me. Ironically 25 years ago, I was a 5 year old impressed by her vocals on her iconic girl group Destiny’s Child’s debut single No, No, No. Since then, Beyoncé has become a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.
Destiny’s Child might have been our first introduction to the Houston TX native, but her solo career took her to newer heights..becoming one of the most celebrated musicians of all time.
Beyoncé announced in August of 2021 that she’s been working on her seventh studio album for over a year, and desiring to create an album where we escaped from the world we were living in full of isolation, injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost a year later on June 7, 2022, the Queen began to tease a new by removing her profile picture from all of her social media platforms.
Days later, her website had the phrase “what is B7?” and the website also had placeholders for the singer’s seventh & eighth studio albums. The following day, Beyoncé announced the album, (titled Renaissance,) and released the pre-sale for the record on her website and streaming platforms. Renaissance was released worldwide on July 29, 2022, marking the longest gap between the singer’s solo studio albums in her career. This album serves as the first act in a trilogy project Beyoncé has in the works. I’m not sure if it’s all three albums or what, but she has my coins regardless.
Renaissance is a culmination of freedom and escape that encourages unimaginable jubilation, agency and movement with abandon. The singular intent of renaissance, a reinvention of four on the floor, is to showcase music that stirs you from the soul and encourages your dancing feet.Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, 2022
Renaissance is a dance, pop & R&B album full of elements of disco, house (Chicago, deep, electro, hip,) afrobeats, new jack swing, Jersey club, hyper pop, funk, gospel, hip hop, trap, gqom, soul, hip-hop, boogie, dancehall, synth-pop, hyperpop, and trap. The themes of this album are truly remarkable as it is an ode to Black joy, pride and LGBTQ+ culture, along with the themes of liberation, release, self-assuredness and confidence.
Renaissance debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts with first week sales of 332,000 album-equivalent units, becoming the first album released by a woman in 2022 to reach number one, the largest streaming week for a woman and became the first woman artist in history to have her first seven studio albums debut at number in the US since the Billboard albums chart’s debut in 1945. LEGENDARY BABY!! The album also debut at number one on the UK albums chart as well. With the exception of the lead single (Break My Soul,) the remainder of the album debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 charts with the following rankings:
No. 1, Break My Soul
No. 13, Cuff It
No. 19, Alien Superstar
No. 22, Church Girl
No. 26, I’m That Girl
No. 27, Energy, feat. BEAM
No. 30, Cozy
No. 41, Plastic Off the Sofa
No. 43, Virgo’s Groove
No. 47, Summer Renaissance
No. 51, Heated
No. 53, Thique
No. 55, Move feat. Grace Jones & Tems
No. 64, Pure/Honey
No. 69, America Has a Problem
No. 70, All Up in Your Mind
The debut of the 15 songs after Break My soul jumps Beyoncé up to a career total of 81 solo Hot 100 entries, becoming the third woman after Taylor Swift & Nicki Minaj to have the most entries on the chart. The singer also earned 47 solo top 40 Hot 100 hits, becoming the fifth woman to accomplish such a feat. The girls aren’t doing things like this 25 years into their careers, with no promo, visuals, interviews, etc. Her power in the music industry truly has to be studied in school.
Renaissance IS PERFECTION, okay! From the transitions that flows like water, to the flawless production, I haven’t really enjoyed an album where I’ve played it religiously for DAYS IN A ROW, since Bey’s self-titled album that was released in 2013. Everything about this album makes me feel proud and happy, and that’s how music should make you feel. It should make you feel good, & Beyoncé has yet to fail me when it comes to giving us music that makes you feel that way chile.
Speaking of feeling good, the way that Beyoncé has dedicated this album to her late “Uncle Johnny” is truly the most amazing thing I think someone can do for a family member that they truly adored. I practically cried, because normally our Black & Queer pioneers are often erased from the contributions they have added to Black culture and history period (Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Gladys Bentley, Willi Ninja, Willi Smith & Stormé DeLarverie just to name a few).
Beyoncé’s dedicating her album to her uncle makes me love & appreciate her so much more for being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. The girls ain’t paying homage to the girlsssssssss like honey Bey & it shows! It’s honestly like she made this album for her very large LGBTQ+ fanbase, and our Black LGBTQ+ ancestors who wasn’t given their flowers while they were here. Beyoncé credits her uncle for exposing her to the type of music and culture that this album is giving.
While Uncle Johnny is technically Beyoncé’s first cousin (Ms. Tina’s nephew who was more like a brother,) he had a hand in helping raise her and sister Solange..and they truly adored him. Ms. Tina’s response to Beyoncé dedication to her nephew broke my heart even more when she discussed how Johnny succumbed to the HIV epidemic was so heartbreaking to read. I didn’t have an Uncle Johnny growing up, but I wish I had one. I aspire to be that uncle for my own nieces and nephews, and the younger LGBTQ+ people period. I hope everyone that reads this album revisit gains some type of appreciation for the masterpiece that Renaissance is to me & the world.
Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you Beyoncé’s Renaissance!
I’m That Girl
Written by Beyoncé • Terius Gesteelde-Diamant • Kelman Duran • Mike Dean • Tommy Wright III
You know all these songs sound good, cause I’m on that hoe.Beyoncé, I’m That Girl, 2022.
The album opens with the remarkable I’m That Girl, and it is literally that girl. The song sets the tone and the vibes for the album, which had themes of female empowerment, so I better see the girls living for this record in bars and dance floors everywhere! I’ll die on the hill of I’m That Girl possibly being one of Beyoncé’s most confident records, and rightfully so. The song contains elements of Still Pimpin by Princess Loko & Tommy Wright III.
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Honey Redmond ∙ Christopher Penny ∙ Luke Solomon ∙ Dave Giles II ∙ Nija Charles ∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ TS Madison Hinton ∙Mike Dean ∙ Coerce Smith ∙ Curtis Jones ∙ Kim Cooper ∙ Peter Rauhofer
Cozy is a great ballroom VIBE, okay! From a lyrical perspective, Cozy is a self-loving record that is so entrancing, so exhilarating. The lyrics of women being comfortable in their skin, loving themselves & being heroes and goddesses because of the experiences they have gone through really gets me, because sometimes we really need those types if uplifting records because society as a whole are awful to women, especially if they’re Black.
Another verse on the album is how eloquently she describes the Progress Pride Flag that was created by Daniel Quasar, that pays homage to the classic rainbow pride flash & also focuses a greater emphasis on inclusion, progression and to represent marginalized LGBTQ+ communities of color. Like she is really snapping and we’re only two songs in! When will y’all faves ever?
BLACK LIKE LOVE TOO DEEP DANCE TO THE SOLES OF MY FEET GREEN EYES ENVY ME PAINT THE WORLD PUSSY PINK BLUE LIKE THE SOUL I CROWNED PURPLE DRANK AND COUTURE GOWNS GOLD FANGS AND SHADE GOD MADE BLUE, BLACK, WHITE AND BROWN PAINT THE TOWN RED LIKE CINNAMON YELLOW DIAMONDS LIMONCELLO GLISTERING RAINBOW GELATO IN THE STREETSBeyoncé, Cozy, 2022
The song contains an excerpt of Bitch I’m Black by trans activist and media personality TS Madison, along with samples of Get With U by Liddell Townsell & M.T.F. & Unique by Danube Dance feat. Kim Cooper (which transitions into the following song on the album).
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Honey Redmond ∙ Christopher Penny ∙ Luke Solomon ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney∙ Shawn Carter ∙ David Brown ∙ Dave Hamelin ∙ Timothy McKenzie ∙ Danielle Balbuena ∙ Rami Yacoub ∙ Leven Kali ∙ Atia Boggs ∙ Levar Coppin ∙ Saliou Diagne ∙ Mike Dean ∙ Robert Francis Anthony Manzoli ∙ Richard Peter John Fairbrass ∙ Christopher Abbott Bernard Fairbrass ∙ John Michael Holiday ∙ Barbara Ann Teer ∙ Kim Cooper ∙ Peter Rauhofer
It’s the transition from Cozy to Alien Superstar for me, because it’s the experience that the song gives in my mind. I just see futuristic visuals and even more ballroom-like vibes. I just know this is going to be so amazing at a ballroom, because baby she ate!!!!! Like wtf. It’s the ultimate bad bitch record I want to hear more of from Bey. She is one of the most successful entertainers of all time and has the RIGHT to brag and defined her superstardom as being out of this world. She is truly unique.
The song contains samples of Black Theater by Barbara Ann Teer, Unique by Danube Dance & Kim Cooper & Moonraker by Foremost Poets. The song also contains an interpolation of I’m Too Sexy by Right Fred Said.
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney ∙ Morten Ristorp ∙ Raphael Saadiq ∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ Mary Christine Brockert ∙ Allen Henry McGrier ∙ Nile Rodgers
Cuff It is a whole mf vibe that’ll definitely be a mf on the dance floor. If you don’t get up and cut tf up, you suck. From a lyrical perspective, the song has the singer in her groove, falling in love, got that good drunk and herbs, “fucking up the night” & getting her man to cuff it. But we knew a song where it has the legendary Nile Rodgers, on the guitar, my favorite dude Raphael Saadiq on the drums and bass & the remarkable Sheila E on the percussion was going to be a whole it. I get 70s, 80s & 90s vibes from this feel good record. The song contains an interpolation of Teena Marie’s Ooo La La La that leads into the following song on then album.
Energy featuring Beam
Written by Beyoncé∙ Tyshane Thompson∙ Skrillex ∙ Almando Cresso ∙Jordan Douglas ∙ Tizita Makuria ∙ Denisia Andrews∙ Brittany Coney∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant∙ Mary Christine Brockert ∙ Allen Henry McGrier ∙ Pharrell Williams ∙ Chad Hugo ∙ Adam James Pigott ∙ Freddie Ross
Energy recently has attracted a lot of controversy of the initial use of an interpolation of Kelis’ signature song, but y’all know the story on that so I don’t want to go into that. I want to talk about the beautiful transitioning of Cuff It, to Energy to the next song on the album is just amazing. Like my God this woman is something else! Collaborating with Beam for the first time, Energy gives The Gift soundtrack vibes for sure. The song contains an interpolation of Ooo La La La by Teena Marie, a sample of Explode by Big Freedia & the original version previously contained the interpolation of Kelis’ Milkshake
Break My Soul
Written by Beyoncé∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ Christopher A. Stewart ∙Shawn Carter ∙ George Allen ∙ Fred Craig McFarlane ∙ Adam James Pigott ∙ Freddie Ross
Break My Soul SOUNDS SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER WITH THE ALBUM!!!! Not saying it wasn’t a good song cause I’ve had it playing nonstop when it dropped, but now that you hear the album in its entirety…it is a masterpiece for sure. With influences of house and dance pop, Break My Soul brought house music back to popular music and we love to see it.
From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks about liberation from the pandemic and a job that wasn’t worthy of keeping . Break My Soul peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, giving Beyoncé her eighth solo number one hit (twelve overall with Destiny’s Child). 25 years into her career though. Like wow! The song also has peaked at number four on the R&B charts, and contains samples of Show Me Love by Robin S & Explode by Big Freedia.
Beyoncé also recently released The Queens Remix that features the Queen of Dance/Pop herself, Madonna & the remix interpolates Madonna’s 1990 hit Vogue. Like the Vogue song, Beyoncé namedrop tons of iconic Black women in entertainment history such as Rosetta Tharpe, Santigold, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Betty Davis, Solange Knowles, Erykah Badu, Lizzo, Kelly Rowland, Lauryn Hill, Roberta Flack, Toni Braxton , Janet Jackson, Tierra Whack, Missy Elliott, Diana Ross, Grace Jones, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Sade Adu, Jill Scott, Michelle Williams, Chloe & Halle Bailey, Aaliyah, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj and legendary ballroom houses such as House of Xtravaganza, House of Aviance and House of LaBeija.
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Terius Nash∙ Ernest Wilson ∙ Elbernita Clark Terrell ∙ Jimi Stephen Payton ∙ Dion Lamont Norman ∙ Derrick Robert Ordogne ∙ James Brown ∙ Orville Erwin Hall ∙ Phillip Glen Price∙ Ralph Macdonald ∙ William Salter
Church Girl lives rent FREEEEEEEEEEEE in my mind, and I don’t think I’ll be able to be released from the shackles! The song is a beautiful blend of Gospel, R&B & Chicago and southern Hip-Hop and it truly blows my freaking mind with every listen. The song contains samples of Center Thy Will by The Clark Sisters & Mister Magic by Grover Washington Jr, elements and interpolations of Where They At by DJ Jimi, Think (About It) by Lyn Collins & elements of Drag Rap (Triggerman) by The Showboats.
Plastic off the Sofa
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Sydney Bennett ∙ Sabrina Claudio ∙ Nick Green ∙ Patrick Paige II
Plastic off the Sofa switches up the pace of the album, with Beyoncé obviously singing about her love for her soulmate..which is the rap legend Jay-Z. Lyrically and vocally, this song is phenomenal, and is one of the standout tracks on the album. If you were looking for a R&B ballad with elements of funk from Bey this era, here’s your go-to for sure.
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Leven Kali ∙ Solomon Fagenson Cole ∙ Daniel Memmi ∙ Dustin Dab Bowie ∙ Darius Dixson ∙ Jocelyn Donald ∙ Jesse Wilson ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney
Virgo’s Groove is exactly that: a whole mf groove! It’s become one of those standards on a Beyoncé record for her to give us a flawless sex influenced song. I love everything about this song, especially since the song’s title comes from Bey’s sign (which is obviously Virgo). The lyrics makes sense, from the disco elements to Beyoncé embodying a siren and telling her significant other to come over, Virgo’s Groove is truly a moment.
Move featuring Grace Jones and Tems
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Richard Isong ∙ Ariowa Irosogie ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney ∙ Temilade Openiyi ∙ Ronald Banful
The reggaeton & afrobeats influenced power anthem Move features the iconic Grace Jones and the rising and upcoming artist Tems, and it flows so wonderfully with the album!
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Aubrey Drake Graham ∙ Matthew Samuels ∙ Jahaan Sweet ∙ Rupert Thomas, Jr ∙ Sean Seaton ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney ∙ Ricky Lawson ∙ Oliver Rodigan
Uncle Johnny made my dress, that cheap spandex, she looks a mess!Beyoncé, Heated , 2022
Move is a seamless transition to the afrobeats influenced, Heated. It has a really nice vibe, and when I noticed that Drake had a writing credit attached to the song, I said they would’ve really ate this song up if he was actually featured on the song!!!
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ Chauncey Hollis Jr ∙ Atia Boggs ∙ Julian Martrel Mason ∙ Jabbar Stevens ∙ Cherdericka Nichols
One song I know is going to be a club banger for sure, is Thique. From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks about her amazing body and wealth. I LOVEEEEE it!
All Up in Your Mind
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Jabbar Stevens ∙ Cherdericka Nichols ∙ Michael Tucker ∙ Alexander Guy Cook ∙ Mike Dean ∙ Larry Griffin Jr ∙ Jamel Aossey
All Up in Your Mind is a very hypnotizing record to me. It’s something so different and entrancing about this song that keeps me going back to it. With elements of hyper pop, the song flows directly from Thique and from a lyrical standpoint too..speaking that she is all up in her husband’s mind due to the features of her body and everything she possesses for sure.
America Has a Problem
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ Shawn Carter ∙Mike Dean ∙ Andrell D Rogers ∙ Tiny Santron Mcintosh
America Has A Problem is another one of my favorite highlights from Renaissance. Built around a sample of the 1990 track America Has A Problem (Cocaine) by Kilo Ali, the song is lyrically about Beyoncé using herself as a perfect metaphor to cocaine, and rightfully so because we’ve been addicted to Beyoncé for 25 years chile.
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Michael Tucker ∙ Darius Dixson ∙ Michael Pollack ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney ∙ Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ Raphael Saadiq ∙ Moi Renee ∙ Eric Snead ∙ Jerel Black ∙ Michael D. Cox ∙ Kevin Marquis Bellmon ∙ Andrew Richardson ∙ Count Maurice
I called Pure/Honey as my favorite song from the album just by looking at the tracklist, and I was RIGHT BABY!!! An ode to the life of ballroom, vogueing and house music, Pure is a bop that’ll have the sexy men and women on the floor getting their lives Chile!!! & the second segment Honey is an amazing vibe as well..
Pure/Honey is just so good y’all. I think that they need to open Studio 54 back up, cause I want to get my LIFE to this song. The song puts me in a mood to have a good time and be with my girls for a night on the town. The song contains samples of Miss. Honey by Moi Renee, Cunty (Wave Mix) by Kevin Aviance & Feels Like by MikeQ & Kevin JZ Prodigy.
Written by Beyoncé ∙ Denisia Andrews ∙ Brittany Coney ∙Terius Gesteelde-Diamant ∙ Leven Kali ∙ Mike Dean ∙ Atia Boggs ∙ Levar Coppin ∙ Saliou Diagne ∙ Ricky Lawson ∙ Donna Summer ∙ Giorgio Moroder ∙ Peter Bellotte
The album closes with the immaculate Summer Renaissance, and it is a true masterpiece. I love the disco elements, especially the interoplation of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love. It is the perfect summer record, and I feel like it’s going to be another club classic. This is going to be my favorite song to blast religiously because it’s dangerously good. Like it’s like the grand finale of a celebration and when I say that this album is truly a celebration!!!
Beyoncé outdid herself with the release of Renaissance honestly and truly. We don’t even have the official visuals yet or anything at the time this revisit was written, and the chokehold that the album has me in is just appalling. It isn’t really appalling because I’ve been a fan of Beyoncé for 25 years, but wow. I think I’m speechless at this point. I haven’t had a Beyoncé album have me feel THIS good since self-titled. You literally come back for more with every listen, and you find something new to go crazy over!
I don’t think I’m ready for the remainder of this trilogy because she really keeps us on the edge of our seats with whatever she does. I just know whatever it’ll be, it is going to be a masterpiece like this record. Period! -MW.