Beyonce | Renaissance | Album Review

Editor’s Note: Our new writer, Jannah Rose, gives a track by track breakdown of the new Beyonce album. If you don’t want to read, you can watch her video review on her page by clicking here.

Written by Jannah Rose

Professor Beyonce takes us to history class for dance hall music with influences from the 70s, Jamaica, all the way through hyperpop. She throws us a bunch of silly and sexxy lines. I’ll share track by track what I liked, didn’t care for, and new things I learned about her. You’ll find out why my favorite tracks are 2- COZY, 4- CUFF IT, 13- ALL UP IN YOUR MIND, 14- AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM. As for my stance on  “Must be the cash ‘cause it ain’t your face,” haha look to 7- CHURCH GIRL.

This is her first big release of a personal album since she came out and cleansed her emotions in Lemonade. She was scorned, in pain, and working to rebuild. I can see why she chose the album name Renaissance then given that this is her rebirth as a wife, mother, and most of all, embracing herself so she doesn’t lose what makes her, her. She looks gorgeous on the album cover as she sits atop a plasma horse lit from within. Again, hinting at her finding her own light from within again.

I recommend hitting play and let me share some things with you while you listen. Let’s get to the tracks!

1-I’M THAT GIRL- Switches between many genre beats to where it is almost distracting for me. There isn’t a chorus so much as a mantra of “These M-Fkers ain’t stopping me.” When the reggaeton beat was in this song was when it was its best. I was instantly drawn into the album at that point. So far curious about the beats she’s about to put forth. I relate so much to the line “Bring that beat in, I can breathe again.” Music is life.

2-COZY- A favorite! I barely noticed that we started a new song after all the beat changes in the first song. This song is so ready for a model walk on the runway. I feel like this song is promo for a new clothing line she is about to push with the new album. The term cozy is to be comfortable in your skin. I can just picture it on shirts and stuff and true Beyhive fans would know the deeper meeting. This is a favorite song for sure on here. She mentions the protectiveness of her sister Solange here when she says “Might I suggest you don’t f*** with my sis”. Remember when Solange beat up on Jay Z in that elevator? Yeah, haha

3-ALIEN SUPERSTAR– This is a dance song. You can just imagine someone with fantastic boots or stilettos kicking and dancing around. She mentions being a bad bitch at the bar, but she is also saying she is the bar meaning she sets the bad bitch bar. She talks about herself and how she is picky about who she loves but only because her lover is so unique and alien she gives them some of her time. Fun to imagine her singing this to Jay Z about how special he is and him just dancing in his silly awkward way, rooting her on. My eyebrow raised at the sexy line in this song: “Head on the pillow, hike it in the air.” When it switches into the electronic sounds and her just singing at the end it isn’t my cup of tea, but she’s gotta do her diva switch up and it fits there. Learned in this song that Beyonce’s favorite gum flavor might be cinnamon. She says that you can’t compete with her cinnamon kiss.

4-CUFF IT– A favorite!!! She mentions spaceships. I get excited at the mention of outer space 2 songs in a row, the topic fits with the hyperpop sound. This is top-notch flirting for a super star married couple. It’s all about the flirt before and that’s so many of the lines in this song. She throws her voice almost into the distance in a casual way but with some power or strength. Hard to explain the effect. Love the end switch up on this song. There are trumpets throughout the song, but they really shine here. You dancing yet?

The break between this song and the next should not be so sharp. The other songs flow so smoothly they could have done the same here too, but it’s off. I feel like that’s a mastering issue.

5-ENERGY (feat. Beam)– Beam opens it up, juicy Euro bass drives the first half and it switches to 2 crazy beats soon after from the right, left, right left. “I just entered the country with derringers cause some Karens just turned into terrorists” Big real fear here. This is her version of being political. If she ever does a what’s in my purse video we know 2 things, hot sauce and a derringer. Haha. I’d so watch that.

6-BREAK MY SOUL– Her album single. She was the one to start the surprise drops with Lemonade and in Renaissance she goes back to the classic roll out style. I instantly recognized this one. Do you think she’s talking to Jay Z here from the pain from Lemonade? I think it could just be to everyone in general. The color for me in this song is green. The green changes between bright and deeper, but either way that’s all heart chakra right here. The search for love that she shares is difficult, but in the end find it within yourself and then protect it. I’m used to the phrase break my spirit and don’t think souls can be broken, but it doesn’t matter I suppose. Too busy shaking my head. House music classic vibe.

7-CHURCH GIRL– From the title, you’d think this would be a slow song, but it’s beat is anything but. I love the very light high hat ting ting every once in a while. “Drop it like a thotty” “You can be my daddy if you want to” When she said “you can get you can get it tatted if you want to” it made me wonder if Jay Z has a tat of her somewhere or if she was just saying church girls shouldn’t fear getting inked. What I do know is when she was 21 she painted a picture of an angel and had that tatted to her hip, but she quickly got that removed. She has 2 other tattoos though. 1 is the roman numeral 4 on the ring finger that she and Jay both have because of course both their birthdays are on the 4th and they were married 4.4, thus Blue IVy’s name. The other is 3 dots on her knuckle for her 3 kids. 1 big blue dot and 2 black dots of the same size to represent their twins. So, it’s not like she is all tatted up, but maybe when she was younger she wanted to be and doesn’t want people to feel pressure not to get tattoos. She might view it as empowering. Back to the sexy lines though. My favorite is: “She gon shake that ass and them pretty tig ol bitties” haha She’s finding the fun. She talks about the strife of a church girl trying to do her best, so the rest of the song is peppered with fun to help the girl love on herself. I do not see this song as autobiographical. This is a refreshed Nelly beat Tip Drill and he has a line where he says “It must be your ass cause it ain’t your face.” I think she is joking, as she does in real life with Jay, and says “It must be the cash cause it ain’t your face.” This line has gone viral though where people think she’s serious. Lastly, she’s just like the rest of yall girls and will do whatever if he’s wearing gray sweats apparently haha.

8-PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA– Instantly from the title we know this is going to be about real feelings under the plastic cover to keep a surface pretty. Shout out to performance fabrics and cleanable micromaterial couches. Love being able to clean them nowadays without all that plastic nonsense. Very light song with her higher breathy voice. Very pink energy color. Ready to go to the islands with some breeze after this one. While listening to it I yawn every time. Relaxing. She says “You’re so cool even though I’m cooler than you.” Yes girl! Not the case in my marriage, but I bet it’s an inside joke competition in hers haha.

9-VIRGO’S GROOVE– OOo she’s starting to direct him about the bedroom. Guess all the flirting build-up is paying off haha. She’s ready. “Ain’t got time like we used to, but we still shine like we used to” I bet, esp. with 3 kids, 2 of them growing twins. Real talk from a diva moment. I’m honestly starting to feel restless. I want a straight rapping Beyonce right now. I got up to eat some of the mac and beef my husband made and find myself grabbing the whole pan and spoon and eat dancing around the house. Very fun song once you get up and start to walk if you were taking a breather at all. Sitting is no good to this one. She finishes singing ‘You are the love of my life’ so obviously things are beyond smoothed over since Lemonade. They are healed and that is beautiful.

I took a break to watch Nathan Fielder in The Rehearsal on HBOmax. Fascinating experiment breakdowns. Cool, back to it!

10-MOVE (feat. Grace Jones and Tems)– POWERFUL start Grace Jones (from Jamaica) and Tems (from Nigeria) hold up their end! Distinctive and kick butt with the jungle feel (in fact they say they are coming from the jungle) and are trying to make waves. Grace Jones has a sexy low punch of a voice and I’m here for the motivation.

11- HEATED– Good beat choice to follow Move. The beat is strong on the 1 and 2 and I’m bouncing around the living room. No depth to these lyrics haha. At 3:30 til the end of the song at 4:20 I actually didn’t enjoy it. I had been wanting Beyonce to straight up rap to a good beat this whole time, but now I don’t like it. The song has her rap, but her voice is filtered in a way it isn’t enjoyable, the lyrics didn’t grab me, and the beat seems to have gone away.

12-THIQUE– Well, the beat is back. Haha. When you say it you need to say it like her in this song… strong kuh. “Cut that bitch like culinary” I hope someone in the reality shows uses this gem to start a fight haha. Honestly, the song overall could have been thique until the end. Instead it changes into a heartbeat sound as she sings, but then it spazzes out and over.

13-ALL UP IN YOUR MIND– Yuuuus!!! This song gets nuts. Trust. It builds to finally get great at 2:20, but it is only 2:50 min long. Really wish I could get those 30 seconds stretched into a song. Before it was just a light pop. After 2:20 and especially 2:40 it is like surround sound of coolness.

14-AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM– um yes girl it does. A favorite! Was I wrong for thinking this might be the genre country when I saw the song title? This is about a bad chick who wants you to call her. When I looked deeper the spoken portion at the beginning it was from the song from Kilo Ali in 1990 under the same title singing about a white girl he loves, Cocaine. So, when Beyonce ends up mentioning crack and the dealer at the end I see her connection back to the song full circle too. The song is great!

15-PURE/HONEY– Mmmm I love honey in real life so much. To me the guy speaking in the background sounds like he is saying ‘hot tea’. When looking at the lyrics they were saying cun-ty hahaha. Old school echoed singing at the end with other ladies at the end.

16-SUMMER RENAISSANCE– A decent way to end, but not a banger for me. Summer loving song for her and Jay Z. Different old school dance hall beats throughout this. Reminding us that this album took us to dance hall class. She definitely switches between soooo many beats again though.

Overall, she got emotional, but was it enough. She showed us amazing dance beats, but was it too much? I would rate this a 8/10 for these reasons. For me the best songs are: COZY, ALL UP IN YOUR MIND, CUFF IT, AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM. 

Songs I connected least to were: Plastic off the Sofa, Virgo’s Groove, Summer Renaissance, Heated esp. with the weird end.

Favorite quote was: “I ain’t tryna hurt nobody, tryna bring the life up in your body.” From Churchgirl. “I can see the light in you.” From Virgo’s Groove.

Did you have a different favorite?

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