Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ is made to last forever


As soon as Beyoncé’s stunning new album starts to make your head spin, try to reorient yourself to the fact that all this sweaty maximalism is taking place in a neat 90-degree angle between the mirror and the dance floor. Affirmation and locomotion are her twin themes here, and when she gets their edges to line that up perfectly, it’s an invitation to shake your body into something that feels more upbeat than escapist, which is exactly how it feels. ‘A superstar wins the right to name his pandemic-era album’Renaissance.”

It’s feel-good music in the sense that it’s also music for everything. Drawing on the forward pulses of house, disco and more, Beyoncé uses rhythm to push in expansive emotional directions, singing about dignity and desire in every detail. On top of that, amidst thick layers of instrumentation and sampling, she speaks to the extraordinary breadth of American black dance music writ large. With so much to dig into, the only thing more impressive than depth is lightness. Just watch the author play hopscotch”summer rebirth“, a fleet, interpolation adorned with”I feel loveby Donna Summer: “I feel too loose to be tied down/Can you see my brain wide open now?” Yes, and we hear it too.

The better we understand Beyoncé, the more there is to know

Beyoncé’s psyche may know no boundaries, but what about the rest of us? In the titular opening line of “All in your mindshe delivers her monosyllables in a skull-penetrating staccato, then digs deep, as only the best pop singers can. Elsewhere in the track listing, she experiences a flash of carpe-diem panic while letting off steam in the disco sweetness of “Virgin Groove“, singing about how she consulted a psychic who “told me that we have s—to do, we don’t have time like before. “

His music has long been rooted in empathy, but now it could expand into something like telepathy. Hear how the tracks of “Renaissance” blend into each other like a seamless DJ set. Or, if you’re ready to take it on another plane, try to hear it as a metaphor for a blended super-consciousness.

“Homecoming” should convince supporters of the legendary Beyoncé

However, she does not ignore the world outside her head. Amid the tumultuous tempo surges of “I am that girlshe reconciles her “un-American life” with her ability to “shine through the blinds.” Moments later, on “Energyshe sings about how the momentary relief of “voting out 45” can’t erase the continued threat of white supremacy, “because the Karen just turned into terrorists.” So everything pivots to “Break my soula neo-house balm with a chorus — “You won’t break my soul” — that sounds louder than anything she’s sung since Destiny’s Child.

Beyoncé’s importance is often distorted by the hyperbole surrounding her, but “Renaissance” gives us pause: who in pop music has remained so relevant for so long? Unfortunately, not Prince. The Beatles broke up. Maybe Michael Jackson, but she’s winning fast. And while fame may be a competition for longevity, music is not. Looks like Beyoncé never cared more about her music. She knows all about mirrors, dance floors, and extra-dimensional planes of consciousness. May she never find the ceiling.


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