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Beyoncé releases new album Renaissance

  • Beyoncé releases new album Renaissance
    Queen Bey’s long-awaited follow-up to Lemonade features contributions from Jay-Z, Drake, Skrillex, Grace Jones, 070 Shake, and more Beyoncé releases new album Renaissance

Queen Bey’s long-awaited follow-up to Lemonade features contributions from Jay-Z, Drake, Skrillex, Grace Jones, 070 Shake, and more

Beyoncé has returned. Six years after releasing Lemonade, Queen Bey has issued her latest solo album Renaissance. The 16-track LP—the first installment of a “three act project”—includes lead single “Break My Soul,” as well as songs with contributions from Jay-Z, Skrillex, 070 Shake, The-Dream, Drake, and more. The largely featureless record does include two songs with guest vocalists: Jamaica-born, Miami-raised reggae artist Beam appears on “Energy,” while Grace Jones and Tems lend their voices to “Move.” Listen to Renaissance in full below.

Almost three years in the works, Renaissance was recorded over the course of the pandemic. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” she said in press materials. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

In addition to a diverse cast of co-composers, Renaissance interpolates music written by Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder (“I Feel Love” on “Summer Romance,”) James Brown (on “Church Girl”), Teena Marie, and others. “Break My Soul” features a synth line reminiscent of Robin S.’ classic house hit “Show Me Love” and a vocal sample of Big Freedia’s “Explode,” from the 2014 LP Just Be Free: “Release ya anger/Release ya mind/Release ya job/Release the time/Release ya trade/Release ya stress/Release the love/Forget the rest.” 

The album also includes contributions from NOVA, NO ID, Raphael Saadiq, Mike Dean, Honey Dijon, Chris Penny, Luke Solomon, and others. Sheila E. contributed percussion to “Cuff It,” which features guitar by Nile Rodgers. “Alien Superstar” interpolates the 1990s pop hit “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. Kelis’ “Milkshake” is interpolated on “Energy;” Kelis responded to online rumors of Beyoncé sampling her work by calling it “theft.”

Two days before the album was set to arrive, it leaked. Just before the album’s official release, Beyoncé released a statement thanking her fans for waiting. “So, the album leaked, and you all actually waited until the proper release time so you can all enjoy it together,” she wrote. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t thank y’all enough for your love and protection. I appreciate you for calling out anyone that was trying to sneak into the club early. It means the world to me. Thank you for your unwavering support. Thank you for being patient. We are going to take our time and enjoy the music. I will continue to give you all my all and do my best to bring you joy. I love you deep.”