What Do We Know About Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ So Far?

Beyoncé loves to play with her Beyhive. Never one to give too much away, she communicates through clues, leaving little breadcrumbs for loyal fans to pick up and dissect. Here’s everything we know so far about her first solo album in six years, Renaissance.

It’s primarily a dance record

In British Vogue’s cover interview with the queen B, editor-in-chief Edward Enninful became one of the very first people to experience the new album, describing “soaring vocals and fierce beats” that transported him “back to the clubs of his youth” in the late ’80s and ’90s. The accompanying shoot represented a sort of club-kid fantasia, referencing the ’70s (the cover is a nod to Bianca Jagger’s much-imitated Studio 54 arrival on horseback), plus the “1990s garage scene [and] ’80s excess.” Expect parallel notes of “retro-futurism” in “music that will unite so many on the dance floor, music that touches your soul.”

The date is set—although there’s a chance you might hear it earlier

First announced through Tidal, Renaissance will drop on July 29—the first time since 2013’s self-titled visual album that Beyoncé has given advance warning of a release. The record’s first single, “Break My Soul,” was expected to premiere on June 21 at midnight EST, but actually dropped three hours earlier on Tidal. Could the same happen for the full album?

“Break My Soul” is a taste of what’s to come

The sixth track on the album, “Break My Soul,” uses two samples: the ‘90s house classic “Show Me Love” by Robin S, and Big Freedia’s bounce anthem “Explode.” It was produced by The-Dream (who helped create three of Beyoncé’s biggest hits, “Single Ladies,” “Partition,” and “Flawless”), while Jay-Z is credited as a writer. With rumors that Honey Dijon has produced at least two tracks, we’re sure to get more house music that proudly calls on its Black queer roots. And with Beyoncé’s mysterious Renaissance box sets each named “Pose”—from Pose 1 to Pose 4—expect plenty more tracks to get voguing to.

There are 16 tracks—with even more to come

The Beyhive sleuths were the first to discover that on Apple Music, the husk of the Renaissance album page contained 16 unnamed tracks, again confirmed on its iTunes pre-order page. But as Beyoncé’s announcement named Renaissance as “act i,” that may only be the start, with rumors swirling that a double album is on its way.

The dates are meaningful

“Break My Soul” was intentionally released to align with the summer solstice on June 21 and mark the start of a “new era with new anthems,” as reported by Pitchfork. But there is another meaningful date the song release coincides with: Bey’s earth-shaking debut album Dangerously In Love came out on June 20, 2003, through which she quickly became the Queen of both pop and R&B, and dabbled in country and rap. Looks like she might be closing that chapter and taking over as the Queen of dance imminently.

The album took two years of sleepless nights

Enninful describes how “the creation has been a long process… with the pandemic giving her far longer to spend thinking and rethinking every decision.” Her mother Tina Knowles confirmed in an Entertainment Tonight interview that Beyoncé put “two years of love” into the record, with “many many nights, all night working.”

During a pandemic lockdown, the album set Beyoncé free

On June 30, Bey posted the album artwork on Instagram—and the equestrian moment echoes her British Vogue cover. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” she wrote online. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving.” It seems this could be her most carefree, happiest sound yet. “My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment,” she went on. “A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration. I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”

She’s set to break new frontiers, again

Beyoncé invented the visual album with Beyoncé (although arguably she did so even earlier, with her 2006 album B’Day, for which she released a DVD with videos for all 13 tracks). It looks like this time her sights are set on pioneering new musical experiences through virtual reality, too. She is reported to be working with the Jay-Z-backed Spatial Labs, which builds technology for the metaverse, and The Wave, which creates live interactive and immersive musical experiences.

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https://www.vogue.com/article/beyonce-renaissance-album-everything-you-need-to-know, Vogue

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