R&B and pop icon Beyoncé released her seventh studio album “RENAISSANCE” on July 29, topping the charts with a selection of groovy and self-empowerment-themed songs. Her first solo studio album since 2016’s “Lemonade,” this album is a more light-hearted and lively body of work. Authenticity and embracing your flaws is a continuous theme in this album and in Beyoncé’s entire discography.
In a 2021 Harper’s Bazaar interview, Beyoncé hinted at the upcoming album by stating, “I think we are all ready to escape, travel, love, and laugh again. I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible.” Her intention with the album was to create an energetic, inclusive and loving atmosphere. This album celebrates the old school haus genre and creates an environment of high energy.
The album opens with “I’m That Girl,” creating a bold statement of empowerment. The echoing verse transitioning into the beat crafts the starting tone for the album. This introduction sets the energy of the album’s theme of self confidence, a concept immediately exemplified in the next track, “Cozy.”
When initially seeing this song title, listeners may assume it’ll be about getting close with a significant other. However, the song purely focuses on embodying the best version of yourself, as said in the lyrics being “comfortable in my skin.”
“Alien Superstar” has a futuristic vibe as given by the title. It exemplifies having an extravagant ego, as the chorus states “I’m too classy for this world/Forever I’m that girl.” This is the perfect song to listen to when getting ready or going out as a reminder of feeling like the “it girl,” an encouragement that has been a staple in Beyoncé’s discography since her time in Destiny’s Child. “Cuff It” captures the feeling of embracing an eventful night without worries. The background trumpets and upbeat tempo creates a party-like aura for listeners and sets the dancing mood. The tempo then directly translates into “Energy.” This track emulates its title of lively vivacity.
“Energy” flawlessly transitions into “Break My Soul.” This upbeat pop track would be a fantastic addition to a workout playlist.
The lyrics of the track “Church Girl” are ironic when considering the song’s meaning. “Church Girl” conveys the idea that it is unnecessary to be obedient to social norms and to express yourself in any way that suits you, even if it seems extravagant. Especially considering antiquated standards for women to be traditional and modest, this song empowers listeners to flaunt themselves with confidence without fear of outside judgment.
“Plastic Off the Sofa” has a slower vibe, creating a sensual mood shift midway through the album. New York Times critic Wesley Morris stated, “The bass line keeps swelling and curving and blooming till it outgrows its flower bed, and Beyoncé’s voice does, too.”
Following “Plastic Off the Sofa,” “Virgo’s Groove” has a disco feel, reflecting the track name. This groovy dance track expresses infatuation and emotion.
“Move” is a fast-paced track with sharp intensive drumming, candidly prompting listeners not to let people or situations hold them back from furthering themselves. The background lyrics demandingly state, “Move, move, move right outta my life.”
“Heated” is another pivotal self-worth track on the album. This bop expresses flaunting the ownership of items because of one’s own accomplishments, such as lyrics that state, “Got a lot of bands, got a lot of Ivy on me, gotta fan myself off,” alluding to Queen Bey’s clothing line, Ivy Park.
“Thique” has somewhat of a rap aspect to it. The song goes along with the concept of working hard for oneself in terms of making money and making a spectacle of one’s body image. The following track “All Up in Your Mind” has a feisty tone of attraction and finding someone alluring.
In “America Has a Problem,” Beyoncé describes her appeal and charm to be gravitating, going along with the theme of self pride. “Pure/Honey” further portrays this concept of being sweet and indulging, much like honey itself. The bouncy rhythm and expression of feminine beauty and attraction rounds out this track well.
The closing track, “Summer Renaissance,” comes full circle as it includes the album title. This is a feel-good wrap-up and is sampled from Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” In this cheery track, Beyoncé hits some high notes, and momentum builds up as the song goes on with applause and background vocals.
This album is a must-listen as a confidence booster. Given Beyoncé’s platform as an artist and a woman of power in the music industry, she has delivered an important message while creating the perfect soundtrack for a rhythmic night out.