Now I’ll admit, even though I’ve heard so many Beyoncé tracks before, “RENAISSANCE” is the first full album experience I’ve had the pleasure of undertaking. Yeah I know, start throwing food, shoes, dirty clothes, whatever you want, but it’s true. Given the huge amount of hype and praise I’ve heard for this album, I couldn’t be more excited to check it out. I mean, Beyoncé slapping us in the ass with a massive 16-track house dance-pop album? How the fuck has this not caught my eye sooner???
Annnnnnd to no surprise… Yep, this thing is GREAT.
There’s so much that is great about it. Beyoncé does not disappoint here. It’s pretty well known that her vocals are one of the most iconic and powerful female voices in the entire music industry today, and “RENAISSANCE” does nothing but further solidify this fact. It’s incredible, and her flow is equally impressive. Our Queen served some serious c*nt in this regard.
The production and mix on this record is as good as it can get. I wasn’t expecting anything like this, especially since it’s Beyoncé’s first fully-fledged house and dance-pop project, but goddamn it’s basically perfect for what it needs to be. A common problem I have with modern house music is that it can either be crazy overproduced or not punchy enough, but the production manages to find perfect balances for certain parts of the record, making for an absolutely fucking awesome listening experience from front to back. I’d say that it verges on overproduced territory, but in a good way? Does that even make sense? Lmaoooo.
It’s so rich, punchy, vibrant, and bassy — everything you need for a great dance experience. Beyoncé’s amazing vocal performances combined with this incredible production is honestly overwhelming on paper, but coming out of this whole experience, thanks to the richness and sheer power of the music, I couldn’t help but love it. Hearing Beyoncé deliver so much over one of my favourite genres made me so happy. The fact that she got over 40 producers (holy hell) on this definitely helped as well. Also the 4-track run from “ALIEN SUPERSTAR” to “BREAK MY SOUL” is fucking insane.
So the vocals and production aspects are perfect in “RENAISSANCE”. Awesome! Now what about the lyricism and the songs themselves?
In terms of the lyricism, it's mostly really great. I love the themes and the messages, and how they've been implemented with the rest of the album. It truly feels like a love letter to ballroom, the LGBTQ + community, and of course the genre. And I'm all for it, I LOVE it.
However, there are a lot of parts where it’s way overdone. It could just be that I’m not the target demographic for this sort of stuff, and even though it’s clearly intentional, if I find something that’s corny or repetitive, it’s corny or repetitive. Repetition seems to be a pretty big thing lyrically for “RENAISSANCE” and it dampens a lot of the great lines that came before or after these repetitive sections.
In terms of the songs themselves, the second half noticeably falters in comparison to the first. There are a lot of tracks that are nowhere near as memorable as others, some of which I’d consider as filler (even though I don’t really want to because of how brilliant the vocals and production elements are) due to a lot of generic elements, structures, and a few strange creative ideas in songs like “THIQUE”. There’s absolutely nothing bad with the lyricism or the songs, but because there are so many high points on the record, even the (just) good songs stick out considerably compared to the others.
But honestly the rest of “RENAISSANCE” shines so damn bright that I can’t help but brush past most of these. It’s an awesome record with perfect vocals, insane production, and the vibe that it creates is some of the best I’ve heard on any house/dance record.
Also remember, these are my impressions on my first few listens. I can almost guarantee that this record will grow on me.
Highest rated: I’M THAT GIRL, ALIEN SUPERSTAR, CUFF IT, BREAK MY SOUL, VIRGO’S GROOVE
Lowest rated: COZY, MOVE, HEATED, THIQUE
|1||I'M THAT GIRL / 90|
|2||COZY / 75|
|3||ALIEN SUPERSTAR / 90|
|4||CUFF IT / 100|
|5||ENERGY / 85|
|6||BREAK MY SOUL / 95|
|7||CHURCH GIRL / 85|
|8||PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA / 80|
|9||VIRGO'S GROOVE / 90|
|10||MOVE / 75|
|11||HEATED / 75|
|12||THIQUE / 70|
|13||ALL UP IN YOUR MIND / 85|
|14||AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM / 85|
|15||PURE/HONEY / 85|
|16||SUMMER RENAISSANCE / 80|