It's not the diamondsBeyoncé, I'M THAT GIRL, Renaissance, 2022
It's not the pearls
I'm that girl
It's just that I'm that girl
It's not my man
It's not my stance
I'm that girl
It's just that I'm that girl
If you're gonna make a solo comeback after six years, there's no other way to do it than to remind folks in these physical and metaphorical streets to take a pause remind them that you are that girl.
There's not much about Queen Bey we can say that hasn't already been said. Frequently crowned one of the most influential and talented entertainers of all time, she has reached heights within the music industry that many believed to be unattainable. A career spanning almost three decades, she's unstoppable.
But that's not what matters most. Besides, we already know that she makes the world stop. However, what other artist alive has the innate ability to generate true conversation, analysis, critique and deep emotional impact across the digital landscapes we occupy? With the release of her seventh studio album Renaissance, Beyoncé has reestablished that she is in a lane completely all her own. Crafted over the three years the world spent on lockdown, this latest album has been slow-cooked and splendidly marinated to sublimity. Less than 24 hours of the album's release, it became the fastest female album released this decade reaching #1 on iTunes U.S.—even though it was leaked prematurely.
Beyoncé is the blueprint of what happens when a consistent student dedicated to the music graduates to a professorial level and puts her study into practice with a masterclass on artistry. Although this was not a surprise drop that we've become accustomed to from her, the real gift lies in the authenticity she paid to herself, the culture and to real music.
Bey's latest body of work is the culmination and summation of all her projects up to this point with the ultimate gag being that this is only the beginning of this trilogy. She has successfully liberated herself from the pressure of the industry and made music that's just damn good.
From the start of the project, a mean head bop ensues followed by a mean stank face and the wiggle that Bey has so clearly told us to embrace and release. Beyoncé brought us back to her early 2000s with slick and skillful vocal gymnastics, funky instrumentation and flare of B-Day, the experimentation of 4, certifiable dance tracks of I Am... Sasha Fierce, edginess of her self-titled Beyoncé and the expansive storytelling of the 2016 Lemonade. While the construction of Renaissance is so multi-dimensional, it makes one wonder the exact clubs she was at back in the day to be so inspired, how she was getting down and still having a perfectly manicured and curated image. Regardless, she has proved once more that she is an all around it girl.
there's a time and a place to listen to renaissance and it's 1am on a thurs night when the party / company / drugs / vibes are simply too good to worry about something as terrestrial as tomorrow morning— J(enna) Wortham (@jennydeluxe) July 29, 2022
Also contributing to how beloved this album is turning out to be in such as short time is largely in part due to the massive homage to the magnificence and magnitude of queer influence. There was absolutely no way that Bey could center and hone the ethos of house music without justly including the individuals who have made the genre pop since its inception. As previous acknowledgment was given to her Uncle Johnny, a gay Black man who passed away from AIDS, she made it clear that everyone included on her album was a "pioneer." In short, she had ALL of us in mind and did not forget her own experience and roots.
Granted, Beyoncé is no stranger to an empowerment hymn, but the lyrics coupled with exceptionally fitting samples take us to church in an entirely different vehicle. They allow us to bare witness and venerate the enduring collectivity of the human spirit and the fullness of ourselves exactly as we were born.
Whether you choose to listen to this album or not, it is abundantly transparent that Beyoncé has the formula on lock. No matter how ephemeral the joy that exudes from one of her projects may be, her influence will be eternally engrained into the culture.
And for that we say #ThankYouYoncé