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REVIEW: Beyoncé Releases Empowering Album ‘RENAISSANCE’

On July 29, Beyoncé released her seventh studio album, RENAISSANCE. The album is the first installment in a planned three-part series. “BREAK MY SOUL,” the album’s lead single, was met with critical acclaim and has already amassed over 100 million streams, being regarded as an anti-work anthem. 

One of the album’s first songs, “COZY,” is a testament to self-confidence. The track features a prominent bassline and drum beat as well as bright background vocals. Beyoncé sings about being comfortable in her skin and extends this confidence to the audience, reminding the listener that, “You’re a god, you’re a hero, you survived all you’ve been through.” She also uses the track to express her pride in the Black community, sampling T.S. Madison’s video “B**ch I’m BLACK”. The track is sexy and empowering, and includes a call and response section with lyrics that sum up the song’s message flawlessly: “That’s how God made me.”

“PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” slows the album’s upbeat tempo for a few minutes with a laid-back groove. The sweet love song is filled with sentimental lyrics like, “It’s the way you wear your emotions on both your sleeves” and “I love the little things that make you, you.” The love Beyoncé describes is healthy and comfortable, and the track reflects this ease, with a groovy bass riff and smooth, simple vocals. 

A disco-inspired track, “VIRGO’S GROOVE”, is harmonic and bubbly, with swanky guitar and staccato rhythms. The track features intricately interlaced bass and electronic noise as Beyoncé seamlessly riffs, bouncing across the notes effortlessly. The lyrics are equal parts sultry and enamored, as she sings, “I can see the light in you, everybody wants somebody”.

The final track on the album, “SUMMER RENAISSANCE”, is a joy-filled disco club fusion. A groovy synth riff runs at the heart of the song as it fades between a prominent drum line, funky guitar riffs, a call and response section, and a slower harmonic interlude. The song exemplifies Beyoncé’s skill at diversifying the instrumentation in different moments of each song; the track is so auditorily interesting that it holds onto the listener’s focus. Beyoncé also pays homage to Donna Summer in this track by sampling her hit “I Feel Love,” replacing the original lyrics with, “I feel good.” The song is a celebration with enamored lyrics like, “I want your love, I want your spirit”, making it the ideal way to conclude an upbeat, empowering body of work.

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