Last Friday, July 29, Beyoncé finally unveiled her latest album in full, RENAISSANCE, in stores and on music platforms. An exit that did not go smoothly, due to an unfortunate leak. But everything is overtaken by the tracklist as powerful as it is catchy, which proves to us that Beyoncé is still the queen of pop.
Just over six years after the release of the acclaimed Lemonadeincomparable star Beyoncé is finally releasing a new solo album, titled RENAISSANCE, this time, as if she had come back from the dead after this long absence of half a dozen years. An album which had been formalized on June 15 and had offered its fans the longest 44 days of their lives. But as the wait finally came to an end, last week, not everything went as planned.
RENAISSANCE: a high voltage release for Beyoncé
While the output of RENAISSANCE is scheduled for the night of Thursday 28 to Friday 29 July, a tragedy occurs: on the evening of Wednesday 27, the album completely leaks on the Internet. Who is hiding behind this leaked hateful? To everyone’s surprise, all the clues point to France. And more particularly towards a brand: the Leclerc stores which, according to various sources on Twitter, as reported BFM TV, would have put the disc on the shelf a bit too soon. Information that ultimately still could not be confirmed, nor denied.
The fans are furious. How to resist the temptation to listen to it in preview, those who would not want for a penny to benefit from this new opus illegally, for fear of harming the artist. A watchword then spread on social networks: “patience is a virtue”.
But the fires are still not extinguished. Friday, while RENAISSANCE finally officially arrives in stores and that we have hardly had time to dive into it yet, it is the cold shower for the American singer Kelis, star of R’n’B in the early 2000s and almost disappeared from the radar since her last album in 2014: she discovered with amazement that one of her songs, Milkshakewas sampled on the title ENERGY from Beyoncé’s latest album. Except that she wouldn’t have given her consent, nor would she have been informed. Second controversy, when the world has not yet had time to really listen RENAISSANCE.
But as the saying goes, never two without three. And this time it’s the title HEATED which shocks, because Beyoncé sings there: Spazzin’ on that ass, spazzin’ on that ass. And it is this term “spas”, which is problematic here. A derivative of the adjective “spastic” (spastic in French, which could be translated as cretin, disturbed or clumsy), which can be used to make fun of people with disabilities and which causes a lot of trouble for the singer, now accused of being able-bodied. If its use is rare in the United States, and the word even has a completely different meaning in vernacular African-American English, it is especially in the United Kingdom that the term shocks. A third controversy quickly died out, since the singer has already announced that she would record a new version of the title in which this divisive word would disappear.
It is therefore on this bitter aftertaste and these still hot embers that we immerse ourselves in the first listening of Queen B’s latest solo project.
Beyoncé and RENAISSANCE fly over the controversies
Once again, Beyoncé reaffirms her status as queen: these spikes target her, but do not reach her. Never. And it’s probably partly thanks to the fact that she kept the promise made when the first single from her album was released, BREAK MY SOUL, in June. She definitely reinvents herself, but keeps this royal fiber that always fits her like a glove.
If the album logically begins with two titles that sound more like an introduction than an emblematic climax, it is ALIEN SUPERSTAR which really marks the beginning of RENAISSANCE. A perfect alloy between the Beyoncé pop that we knew until now and the new Beyoncé, the one that draws its sources from house music and the heritage of ballrooms New Yorkers, who served as the only area of expression for black and LGBTQI+ people in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s precisely the title we needed to be propelled into the heart of the renaissance of the diva.
But who says Beyoncé necessarily says diversity and absence of monotony. No question for the artist to lock us into one and the same universe which would have only one string to his bow to offer us. And just before BREAK MY SOUL does not arrive on the tracklist, it is the excellent CUFF IT who enters. A resolutely more funky title, which still retains this same royal common thread and makes us want to wiggle our hips without further delay. We would forget almost all the controversies, even though we have spent ENERGYthe very short piece of less than two minutes questioned by Kelis.
Beyoncé ends her album in apotheosis
And when we thought that Beyoncé could no longer surprise us, she returns to the charge with VIRGO’S GROOVE. A title that pays homage to her astrological sign, Virgo (remember that she was born on September 4), and that we can imagine already playing in a roller-skating arena in an atmosphere Stranger Thingslike its title Blow in 2013. And where the piece surprises is that it is just over six minutes long and does not give us a single second of boredom.
But now for the headlines: MOVEwhere she collaborates with Tems (recently heard in the trailer of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and the immense Grace Jones, and ETHICS. Two catchy tracks that are likely to make the world dance until the end of the year and that we will not fail to hear many times.
But make no mistake about it: Beyoncé is not just music to wiggle your hips, nor is it an egocentric ode to the artist who wants to establish herself as the queen. Admittedly, we do not find RENAISSANCE no ballads, unlike his previous albums, all tracks are dedicated to rocking the dance floor. Certainly again, Beyoncé launches flowers on each of her songs, as in PURE/HONEY, which we love, by the way. No, RENAISSANCE, it is above all a refuge that it offers us. A haven of peace for those who refuse non-compliance, for those who feel isolated. On each of the tracks, Beyoncé offers us a different one. And the last one: disco, with SUMMER REBIRTHwhere she takes up the well-known I Feel Love, from Donna Summer, adding her special sauce, of course. We finish the album in an ever more powerful way.
So this RENAISSANCE by Beyoncé, is it worth it? It is almost unnecessary to say more. After six years of waiting, the diva rewards us as it should. Despite the leaks, the controversies, it was also worth waiting for the album one more day to listen to it on official platforms, and thank the star with our many listens.
Sources: BFM TV, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly