Six years later, Queen Bey is reborn.
Beyonce released her seventh studio album, Renaissance, on Friday after announcing the record in mid-June. A nostalgic mix of disco club, dancehall and electronic music, the hour-long album has 16 tracks, giving fans of the pop superstar a bang for their buck.
Renaissancewhich follows Beyoncé’s 2016 studio album Lemonade, is the first act of a three-part project, according to the singer’s website. It’s a departure from the avant-garde visual style of Beyonce’s previous two albums, which were accompanied by short films and album-length music videos.
The album cover, revealed last month, features Beyonce sitting on a holographic horse wearing a sparkly body jewel.
After recording it for the better part of three years, mostly during the pandemic, Beyonce told fans the album was a creative escape for her during a difficult time – and that she hopes listening to it will be an experience. liberating.
“Creating this album allowed me to dream and escape during a scary time for the world,” the 40-year-old popstar wrote on Instagram in June. “It made me feel free and adventurous in a time when nothing else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgement.”
CBC News breaks down the long-awaited release — contributors, critics and all.
Canadian producers on two tracks
Beyond the contributions of Drake, NOVA, Skrillex, Pharrell and The-Dream, Renaissance is interpolated with hits like Diana Ross, Robin S. and Grace Jones.
In a statement on her website, Beyonce thanked her children and husband Jay-Z, whom she called a “muse.”
When the first single from the album BREAK MY SOUL was released at the end of June, fans noted that – between a sample of Robin S.’s 1990 club classic Show me your love – the empowering lyrics were both liberating and uplifting.
The rest of the album, just as sonically diverse, is confidently imbued with that feeling.
CUFF IT is a funky disco track in which Beyonce proclaims she wants to go “where no one has gone”, while GROOVE OF THE VIRGINthe centerpiece of the six-minute album, is an ecstatic ode to “the love of my life”.
MOVEMENT is a delightfully authoritative, no-frills number that unites Beyonce with Grace Jones and Afrobeats artist Tems, while SUMMER REBIRTH excerpts from Donna Summer’s 1977 disco hit I feel love.
The song from the album produced by Drake, HEATED, pays tribute to three other great Canadian talents: Boi-1da of Toronto, one of the country’s most prolific record producers; as well as Sevn Thomas, who has worked with Rihanna, Travis Scott and Nicki Minaj; and Mississauga’s Neenyo, whose previous credits include songs with Drake, Future and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
Third track alien SUPERSTAR cites Montreal producer Dave Hamelin, who counts Jessie Reyez, Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip among his former collaborators, as a contributor.
CBC News contacted these four producers but did not hear back.
‘It’s not a collaboration. It’s theft’
An artist says she wasn’t consulted before Beyoncé sampled her song.
R&B singer Kelis took to Instagram on Friday to express her disappointment with her 2003 hit milkshake was sampled on the album’s fifth track Energy without his permission.
The track was co-produced by Pharrell and Chad Hugo, who – under the name The Neptunes – have been a producing duo since the early 90s.
Pharrell and Hugo frequently worked with Kelis. She says they and Beyonce should have asked for her permission before using the song.
“My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance from all three parties involved is staggering,” Kelis said on Instagram. “I heard about it the same way everyone else does. Nothing is ever what it seems, some people in this company have no soul or integrity and they’ve fooled everyone.”
“It’s not collaboration, it’s stealing,” Kelis later commented on her post.
Renaissance hit a small bump in the road two days before its official release when leaked online. Many fans refrained from listening, and Beyonce thanked them for sticking to the album’s scheduled release date in a statement on her website.
“I can’t thank you enough for your love and protection,” she wrote.