Beyoncé has launched her long-anticipated album Renaissance – her first solo studio report in six years – to a blockbuster reaction from fanatics and critics, in addition to a place of controversy.
A 16-track dance report filled with high-profile, genre-spanning collaborators together with Drake, Skrillex and Grace Jones, Renaissance is the primary in a deliberate trilogy, Beyoncé mentioned, in a remark uploaded to her site the day earlier than the album’s liberate.
“This three act project was recorded over three years during the pandemic,” the 28-time Grammy-winning artist wrote. “My intention was to create a safe place. A place without judgement. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom.”
In the remark, she additionally paid homage to her “beautiful husband and muse” Jay-Z and her circle of relatives, in addition to her past due uncle Jonny – a homosexual guy who Beyoncé known as “my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album”.
Those inspirations come thick and rapid at the album, in keeping with a four-star Guardian evaluation of Renaissance which known as it the “soundtrack for a feral summer of chaos and joy”, considerable with references to global dance traditions together with Afrobeat, Jersey Club and New Jack Swing. “It’s a celebration of living abundantly and outside the realms of others’ expectations,” wrote Tara Joshi.
Rolling Stone lauded Beyoncé’s refreshing curation of collaborators, who additionally come with queer membership figureheads Big Freedia and Honey Dijon: “Her wide palette illustrates how the best parties blend racial and gender identities, sexual orientations, and aesthetic sensibilities in harmonious ways that belie our tortured and often bigoted public discourse.”
In a tweet in June, Big Freedia mentioned it “feels surreal” to be on a tune with Beyoncé: “I’m so honored to be a part of this special moment.”
Many on Twitter praised the seamless tune transitions on Renaissance – every tune melding into the following, as though located on a membership combine.
The lead-up to Renaissance has been strangely lengthy – no less than by means of Beyoncé’s requirements, following the wonder drops of her two most up-to-date data, 2013’s self-titled and 2016’s feverishly acclaimed visible album Lemonade.
Renaissance, compared, was once preceded by means of a six-week rollout, together with final month’s lead unmarried Break My Soul, a tune which – with its name to fingers to “release ya job” – was once hailed because the anthem of the Great Resignation.
A leak – and an argument
The liberate, then again, has no longer been with out its issues. It leaked in complete two days early, even though her legion of fanatics – jointly titled the Beyhive – straight away known as for listeners to “respect her wishes” on Twitter and look ahead to the reliable drop.
Beyoncé thanked her fanatics in a remark made at Renaissance’s reliable liberate time. “I can’t thank y’all enough for your love and protection,” she mentioned. “I appreciate you for calling out anyone that was trying to sneak into the club early.”
The album samples many tracks, from Donna Summer’s I Feel Love to Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy. But one specifically has sparked headlines – a tune known as Energy, whose liner notes checklist “an interpolation” of Kelis unmarried Milkshake, crediting the songwriting to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, often referred to as the Neptunes.
After a fan account claimed previous this week that Energy would characteristic a Kelis pattern, Kelis commented: “I heard about this the same way everyone else did. Nothing is ever as it seems.”
In a Guardian interview from 2020, Kelis claimed she was once “blatantly lied to and tricked” by means of her early collaborators the Neptunes and, in consequence, “made nothing from sales of her first two albums”. In a Vulture interview previous this yr, Hugo disregarded the feedback: “I heard about her sentiment toward that. I mean, I don’t handle that. I usually hire business folks to help out with that kind of stuff.”
In a next publish on Instagram on Friday, Kelis mentioned the issue was once larger than Beyoncé – however added “from one artist to another, you should have the decency and the common sense to reach out … even if you’re going to do it anyway”. The Guardian has reached out to representatives for Beyoncé for remark.
House musician Robin S, whose tune Show Me Love is sampled in Beyoncé’s Break My Soul, has mentioned she was once additionally ignorant of the utilization earlier than the one’s liberate – even though she won the inside track extra definitely. In an interview with Good Morning Britain in June, she mentioned her son was once the one that knowledgeable her she was once trending, earlier than sending her appreciation to Beyoncé: “Thank you so much for giving me my flowers while I’m still alive,” she mentioned. “I am honoured.”