We’ve waited six years for this moment, and RENAISSANCE doesn’t disappoint one little bit. But let’s be real, this is Beyoncé we are talking about, and she never disappoints. From start to finish this is a concept album that takes you straight to the club, and into the era of house, club kids, and voguing. This album holds a lot of queer energy within its sonical history, and from the very first listen you will be captivated by this visual world she’s created. Which is funny to say, because for the first time ever she actually hasn’t given us any visuals for the songs, even the lead single. Instead, she’s allowing us to create our own personalised relationships with the songs first.
This is only ACT 1 of what she’s promised to be a three-part project, so I’m intrigued to see the direction she heads in as we were notingly missing a classic Beyoncé ballad on this record. I also wouldn’t be totally surprised if we heard a nod to the guitar driven pop-rock sound taking over pop and HIP-HOP right now.
To celebrate the release of RENAISSANCE here are ThomasBleach.com’s first thoughts on all sixteen tracks from this incredible album. It’s a body of work that has its individual moments of brilliance where some songs shine brighter than others, but ultimately they all stand strong together and is a piece of art that brings you to the club after a global longing of wanting to dance and feel free again.
1. I’M THAT GIRL – A very “classic” Beyonce song. Feels like it could’ve sonically fit on self-titled or ‘Lemonade’. It’s the bridge between those records, and where she is now. Lyrics are playful, and a strong album opener.
2. COZY – The lyrics in this song are so empowering, and special. “Comfortable in my skin. Cozy with who I am” is gonna become a life phrase for so many people. And the production is so sensual and upbeat that it has a really nice contrast.
3. ALIEN SUPERSTAR – This hook! OOFT!! The gay clubs are gonna eat this one UP. The verses gives me serious Grace Jones energy.
4. CUFF IT – Beyonce really said justice for ‘Blow’! This song truly feels like the sequel to ‘Blow’, and I don’t know how more people aren’t talking about that. It’s sexy, fun, and lush!
5. ENERGY – Rolls seamlessly in from ‘CUFF IT’, and that seems to be a really important part of the production on this record. It’s meant to be listened to from start to finish. However this song feels more like an interlude/transition than anything else.
6. BREAK MY SOUL – I was honestly so unsure about this as the lead single, but I get it now. It is an anthem, and it’s like a fine wine as it truly gets better with every listen. It’s truly Beyonce’s club era.
7. CHURCH GIRL – I stupidly saw this was the number 1 song on NMF on Spotify, so I had big expectations, and it just didn’t meet them? I feel like it’s gonna be a slow burner for me, but I don’t think I will ever call it the best song on the album.
8. PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA – Mid-tempo jam sexy Beyonce? YES PLEASE! Also lol at Beyonce saying “I like it rough” in the first verse.
9. VIRGO’S GROOVE – This is the album’s longest track at 6 minutes long, but its super fun. Love her delivery on this track, and love the mix of sonical light and shade. This is going to end up being people’s favourite on this record over time.
10. MOVE – Lyrically hears her mentioning Grace Jones which is interesting because I felt the Grace Jones vibes on the verses of ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR’.
11. HEATED – This is a bit MEH to me… It feels like so many other Beyonce tracks, and almost feels more like a freestyle than anything else
12. THIQUE – THIS IS THE SONG!! Yes! Yes! Yes! Absolutely obsessed with this song. Everything about it is a giant YES to me. I really hope we get a visualiser of some sort for this song.
13. ALL UP IN YOUR MIND – The build in this song makes your heart feel like it’s racing. Or maybe that’s just the covid in my body right now, but I felt that. A bit of an anxiety build up.
14. AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM – This is not the political song you expect from the title, but this has one of my fave rap flows on the album. Its definitely a standout!
15. PURE/HONEY – RuPaul and Todrick Hall are gonna be finding a way to sue her, or give her a badge with the ‘PURE’ part of the song. Meanwhile, the ‘HONEY’ part steers the song into a self-titled album direction, and I love it.
16. SUMMER RENAISSANCE – I feel like this is gonna be a big favourite with a lot of people because of the ‘I Feel Love’ sample, but it already feels overrated to me. I feel like that is going to be a very controversial take.