I’ve prayed for days like these. Days when Beyoncé announces her seventh studio album. The last time she dropped a solo project was six years ago. Obama was still president, I lived in a college dorm with $0.59 in my bank account, and Blue Ivy was just beginning her career as Yoncé’s manager. The visual triumph that was Lemonade bubbled with ideas about Black art and maternity, infidelity and the pain of forgiveness, and, most important, fits inspired by Julie Dash’s film Daughters of the Dust. In the years that followed, she had twins, stunned with Homecoming — a concert film documenting her 2018 Coachella performance — and kept up with her tradition of celebrity birthday wishes. And now she’s taking us out of the cold, dark, somewhat Beyoncé-less Middle Ages into the Renaissance. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming album.
Renaissance will be released Friday, July 29, at midnight.
At 1:22 a.m. ET on Thursday, Tidal — Beyoncé’s husband’s music-streaming venture — announced the new album. There was much speculation about an album announcement earlier this month, when Beyoncé deleted her profile pictures on her social-media pages on June 9. Shortly thereafter, she teased “B7” with cryptic — and frankly sort of annoying (Beyoncé, I’m fragile, please don’t mess with me) — posts on her website. The since-deleted posts appeared by typing “June 10” or “June 11” into the search bar of her site and seemed to be placeholders for an album captioned “B7.”
What does the album art look like?
“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” Beyoncé wrote in her caption unveiling the artwork, an homage to Bianca Jagger’s Studio 54 entrance on horseback. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration. I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.” Beyoncé officially wants you to release not only your job, but your wiggle as well.
How many tracks are on Renaissance?
Eagle-eyed fans found the Apple Music page for the new album, which appears to show a 16-track studio album. Songs one through four, seven, nine, and 11 through 16 are all listed as explicit, so here’s to hoping we get some pussy-popping music or something where she’s mad as hell or both. Anything fun for the girls to dance and get ready to. The first single, “Break My Soul,” dropped on June 20 with a Robin S. influence and Big Freedia feature.
What will Renaissance sound like?
In British Vogue’s July cover story, the magazine describes Beyoncé’s new music as “soaring” with a long preamble about how it reminds one of clubbing in their youth. “I want to get up and start throwing moves,” British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful wrote. “Music that makes you rise, that turns your mind to cultures and subcultures, to our people past and present, music that will unite so many on the dance floor, music that touches your soul.” Not sure if that’s a sound, but perhaps it means we’re getting something disco-y. A “Blow” part two, perhaps? When else can we dream?
Speaking of genre, the Apple Music page for the new album lists it under the “pop” category. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be delusional and hope we’re also getting rapper Beyoncé, “Partition” Beyoncé, and “Savage” Beyoncé. The North remembers you can rap, Ms. Knowles-Carter, and we very much would like you to do so on this next record.
The Beyhive also speculated that instrumentals from Ivy Park ads might be from songs in her new album.
What has Beyoncé said about Renaissance?
Beyoncé, unbeknownst to us, teased the album title in her Harper’s Bazaar cover story last August. “With all the isolation and injustice over the past year, I think we are all ready to escape, travel, love, and laugh again. I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible,” she told the magazine. “I’ve been in the studio for a year and a half. Sometimes it takes a year for me to personally search through thousands of sounds to find just the right kick or snare. One chorus can have up to 200 stacked harmonies.”
This post has been updated.