Beyonce’s Renaissance is Good but Not Groundbreaking: Album Review


Since 2016’s Lemonade, Beyonce has reinvented herself with each new release (mostly collaborative), and while these have been daring and progressive, they have had fans and listeners wanting the old Beyonce back and Renaissance is not any different.

For an artiste of Beyonce’s stature who has conquered the pop scene for multiple decades, the main mission shifts from chart dominance and huge first-week numbers to a focus on culture-shifting albums.

As successful and iconic as Beyonce was at the peak of her career, she was not really known to change or define the landscape of music like an artiste such as Kanye West for example.

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Make no mistake, Beyonce is brilliant and talented but her greatness was mostly limited to the confines of pop music. Her iconic songs and albums were the best versions of concepts you could find littered everywhere in the pop genre.

2016’s Lemonade saw an ambitious Beyonce explore sounds and themes that departed her glossier approach to albums, especially 2013’s Beyonce. Everything is Love and Lion King: The Gift did not necessarily enjoy unanimous acceptance from fans, however, these projects, especially the latter revealed Beyonce’s next career goal – to be a mainstream pioneer.

To the American music audience Beyonce and Canadian rapper, Drake would be considered the first converts and musical evangelists of Afrobeats in the global mainstream space, owing to Ojuelegba remix, One Dance and the Lion king Soundtrack album. Coincidentally both artistes will once again attempt to re-pioneer the dance genre into the mainstream consciousness.

Let us get it out of the way, Renaissance is a better dance music offering than Drake’s Honestly Nevermind; where Drake sounds calculated and formulaic almost to a robotic fault, Beyonce at least seems inspired and more energetic.

Renaissance is not the perfect album though. The album carries its highs and lows on its sleeves. At its best, it is empowering and energetic, and at its worst, it is repetitive and near redundant.

Right off the bat, with tracks like I’M THAT GIRL, COZY, and ALIEN SUPERSTAR, Beyonce reminds us of her perfection, self-confidence, and ability, she would go on to back the braggadocio by effortlessly attacking different flows while the songs seamlessly transitioned into another.

CUFF IT, sees Beyonce tap into the 70’s disco sound, as she croons flirtatiously for what would seem to be a little long and repetitive, ENERGY will prove to be a better execution of the previous song. This song will also see the rising star, BEAM shine brightly (pun may or may not be intended) with the little he was given to do.

Renaissance’s biggest flex is in its flawless transitions, the smooth intersection with ENERGY and BREAK MY SOUL disarms the listener from experiencing listener fatigue for the album’s lead single.

CHURCH GIRL is a promising track let down by aimless songwriting, and would begin a trend that will sadly populate the album as it goes further, where great production is counteracted with less than stellar lyricism. However, the “drop it like a thottie” bridge on this song is destined for re-adaptations on TikTok.

PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA sees Beyonce back in her RnB comfort zone and would probably be the unanimous favorite of her core fans for the sake of familiarity. The song is nothing special, almost generic but serves as a good pacer for the album.

In the context of the album, VIRGO’S GROOVE seems to be a little lost, a little too long and fails to match the vibe of the project.

Afrobeats-inspired MOVE is a welcome reprieve, it picks up the pace of the album, and leaves you echoing Tems’ background vocals “Who this girl in the back of the room”. The last minute of the Drake co-written and inspired HEATED sees Beyonce in her creatively chaotic glory, THIQUE is equally as chaotic but a more laborious listen.

Unfortunately for most ALL UP IN YOUR MIND will be the first skip on this project and AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM does not do enough to redeem the lull of the previous track.

PURE/HONEY and SUMMER RENAISSANCE close out this album, but by this time the novelty and energy of the first set of tracks wear off, and this forces the listener listen to the end “to fulfill all righteousness”.

By the end of Renaissance, the listener knows what the album intends to achieve. Primarily an escape route from reality through the tunnels of dance music.

The listener acknowledges that this is a good album, they also acknowledge Beyonce’s efforts to reinvent herself and the music landscape, the album is undeniably a better offering than Drake’s album of similar intent, but most conclusively the listener knows that this album, unlike Lemonade, is not groundbreaking for her career or the music landscape in general.


Score: 6.3/10

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