Bow down, bitches. Beyoncé’s Renaissance has arrived. On Friday, Queen Bey released her long-awaited LP, filled with dance-ready singles, experimental sounds, and sexy lyrics.
The experimental LP opens with a vogue-ready intro before Beyoncé declares on “I’m That Girl:” “I pull up in these clothes, look so good. Because I’m in that hoe/You know all these songs sound good because I’m on that hoe/Deadass.” The album transitions into the tropical, runway-ready “Cozy” before leading into the dancefloor-made “Alien Superstar,” where Beyoncé sings, “No one else in this world can think like me. I’m twisted. I’m contradicted. Keep him addicted.”
Bey funks it up with sexy “Cuff It,” jazzy “Plastic Off the Sofa,” and disco-infused “Virgo’s Groove.” She delivers her signature R&B-meets-hip-hop on “Church Girl.” “PURE / HONEY” is a ball scene-ready single as she sings, “It should cost a billion to look this good.” Queen Bey also pays homage to industry trailblazers, with iconoclast Grace Jones making a rare appearance on “Move” and Donna Summer’s classic “I Feel Love” sampled on “Summer Renaissance.”
The official album release comes as was leaked online three days prior, after copies were mistakenly offered for sale at a handful of record stores in Europe before the album’s official release. On Friday, Beyonce addressed the leak in a handwritten letter posted to Instagram. “So, the album leaked, and you all actually waited until the proper release time so you can all enjoy it together,” the singer wrote. “I appreciate you for calling out anyone who was trying to sneak into the club early.” She added: “I will continue to give my all and do my best to bring you joy.”
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Beyoncé gave fans a first taste of the album when she released the first single, “Break My Soul” last month. She announced the album’s tracklist last week, days after sharing the album’s cover art — a photo of a nearly-nude Beyoncé riding a ghostly, crystalline horse while staring intently into the camera. The singer described her intentions in creating the album in an Instagram post. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving,” she wrote. “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.”
Beyoncé continued by saying that the record became a “beautiful journey of exploration” and that she hopes her fans enjoy the new music as much as she does. “I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha!” she wrote. “And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”
Renaissance is the official followup to Lemonade, which she released in 2016. Since then, however, she dropped Everything Is Love with Jay-Z, the Homecoming record from her Coachella performance, and The Gift, the companion LP for The Lion King film. (Rolling Stone ranked her 70 best songs ahead of the new album’s release.)