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Last Friday, singer-songwriter Beyonce released Renaissance, her first solo studio album since 2016 and the first part in a three-act series of albums she recorded during COVID-19 lockdowns. How has the new album been received so far? Read on below to learn about the early response to the latest work from one of the most acclaimed musicians of all time.
As with nearly all of her six previous studio albums, Beyonce has received an outpouring of critical acclaim for Renaissance. On review aggregator Metacritic, she’s received an average 88/100 score from critics, indicating “universal acclaim.” A particularly glowing review from Consequence said “While not a perfect album, Renaissance is pretty damn close. It’s infectious and not overbearing, elegant, but not shallow.”
Critics praised Beyonce for her creativity as well as the relatable messages on the new album. Many see this as an evolution of her career, and there’s no telling what will happen during the second and third parts of this mysterious three-act set of albums.
If critic reviews were praiseful, the reception from fans was even more so. Aggregated fan reviews on Metacritic gave the album a score of 9.5 out of 10 from nearly 1,800 ratings. Fans were impressed with Beyonce’s ability to adapt and shift into the heavy dance-pop sound of the new album, and many reviewers even called it her finest work to date.
Metacritic reviewer ‘Baddiemel’ said, “An amazing album! She has truly a gift of putting out an album totally different from anything she has ever put out. She’s a true blessing to the music world. Truly unmatched and a must listen to anyone who likes great arrangements. A masterpiece for the dance floor!”
Fans have been excited about Renaissance for months, largely because of the long list of collaborators that was released prior to the album drop. The album features a wide range of talented artists on the songwriting and production side, including Drake, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Labrinth, No I.D., and Raphael Saadiq.
In addition to the formal collaborators, the album credits several legendary artists including James Brown, Nile Rogers, and Donna Summer. These artists didn’t work on the album directly but had songs sampled on it.
Several artists somewhat outside the mainstream also had the chance to work with Beyonce on this album and were obviously delighted to have the chance. For example, New Orleans rapper Big Freedia, who was featured on the track “Break My Soul”, said on Twitter, “It feels surreal to be on the track with the Queen Beyonce once again I’m so honored to be apart of this special moment.”
Controversy over a sample
Although reviews from listeners have been overwhelmingly positive, this album doesn’t come without a bit of controversy. R&B singer Kelis, whose hit song “Milkshake” was sampled on the album, claimed she wasn’t asked about her song being sampled and wasn’t credited whatsoever on the album. The only credit went to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who wrote and produced the original song.