Beyoncé has launched her long-anticipated album Renaissance – her first solo studio document in six years – to a blockbuster response from followers and critics, in addition to a spot of controversy.
A 16-track dance document 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 press release uploaded to her web site the day earlier than the album’s launch.
“This three act venture was recorded over three years through the pandemic,” the 28-time Grammy-winning artist wrote. “My intention was to create a protected place. A spot with out judgement. A spot to be freed from perfectionism and overthinking. A spot to scream, launch, really feel freedom.”
Within the assertion, she additionally paid homage to her “stunning husband and muse” Jay-Z and her household, in addition to her late uncle Jonny – a homosexual man who Beyoncé known as “my godmother and the primary individual to reveal me to quite a lot of the music and tradition that function inspiration for this album”.
These inspirations come thick and quick on the album, in keeping with a four-star Guardian evaluation of Renaissance which known as it the “soundtrack for a feral summer time of chaos and pleasure”, considerable with references to worldwide dance traditions together with Afrobeat, Jersey Membership and New Jack Swing. “It’s a celebration of dwelling abundantly and outdoors the realms of others’ expectations,” wrote Tara Joshi.
Rolling Stone lauded Beyoncé’s refreshing curation of collaborators, who additionally embrace queer membership figureheads Large Freedia and Honey Dijon: “Her extensive palette illustrates how the very best events mix racial and gender identities, sexual orientations, and aesthetic sensibilities in harmonious ways in which belie our tortured and infrequently bigoted public discourse.”
In a tweet in June, Large Freedia mentioned it “feels surreal” to be on a observe with Beyoncé: “I’m so honored to be part of this particular second.”
Many on Twitter praised the seamless tune transitions on Renaissance – every observe melding into the following, as if positioned on a membership combine.
The lead-up to Renaissance has been unusually lengthy – at the very least by Beyoncé’s requirements, following the shock drops of her two most up-to-date information, 2013’s self-titled and 2016’s feverishly acclaimed visible album Lemonade.
Renaissance, as compared, was preceded by a six-week rollout, together with final month’s lead single Break My Soul, a tune which – with its name to arms to “launch ya job” – was hailed because the anthem of the Nice Resignation.
A leak – and an argument
The discharge, nevertheless, has not been with out its issues. It leaked in full two days early, although her legion of followers – collectively titled the Beyhive – instantly known as for listeners to “respect her needs” on Twitter and await the official drop.
Beyoncé thanked her followers in a assertion made at Renaissance’s official launch time. “I can’t thank y’all sufficient in your love and safety,” she mentioned. “I respect you for calling out anybody that was attempting to sneak into the membership early.”
The album samples many tracks, from Donna Summer season’s I Really feel Like to Proper Stated Fred’s I’m Too Horny. However one specifically has sparked headlines – a tune known as Power, whose liner notes listing “an interpolation” of Kelis single Milkshake, crediting the songwriting to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, also referred to as the Neptunes.
After a fan account claimed earlier this week that Power would function a Kelis pattern, Kelis commented: “I heard about this the identical approach everybody else did. Nothing is ever because it appears.”
In a Guardian interview from 2020, Kelis claimed she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” by her early collaborators the Neptunes and, in consequence, “made nothing from gross sales of her first two albums”. In a Vulture interview earlier this yr, Hugo dismissed the feedback: “I heard about her sentiment towards that. I imply, I don’t deal with that. I often rent enterprise people to assist out with that form of stuff.”
In a subsequent publish on Instagram on Friday, Kelis mentioned the issue was greater than Beyoncé – however added “from one artist to a different, it’s best to have the decency and the widespread sense to succeed in out … even when you’re going to do it anyway”. The Guardian has reached out to representatives for Beyoncé for remark.
Home musician Robin S, whose observe Present Me Love is sampled in Beyoncé’s Break My Soul, has mentioned she was additionally unaware of the utilization earlier than the one’s launch – although she obtained the information extra positively. In an interview with Good Morning Britain in June, she mentioned her son was the one who knowledgeable her she was trending, earlier than sending her appreciation to Beyoncé: “Thanks a lot for giving me my flowers whereas I’m nonetheless alive,” she mentioned. “I’m honoured.”