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The cover of Beyoncé’s new album was almost as crazy as the album itself. 

A women in sparkly clothing sits on a glowing horse against a black background.
The official cover for Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” album.

Atop the cover the pop star sits on a horse resembling the qualities of a mirrorball. “Renaissance” is the seventh studio album by Beyoncé and released on July 29, 2022. It’s Act I of III and is the latest of her work. 

The stars previous album, “Lemonade “captured the intense and vibrant emotions behind heartbreak, passionate love, settlement and how her mind works in the most creative and unique ways. 

However, “Renaissance” is something very different from her previous work.

“Renaissance” is a different chapter of Beyoncé’s life. Made during the COVID-19 pandemic, the star manages to express the gradual decline of the global economy and politics via music. Her vocals and strengths in self-love allow her to sing and give opinions on politics and societal topics without it being criticized like most other artists would experience. 

This album is a topical take and re-capture of the African American dance scene from the 1980s. A dance scene was built and inspired by the many other black African American artists from soul, R&B and classical music genres.

This album not only captures the soul of African American culture, but also that of the LGBTQ+ communities. It includes collaborations from the artists Big Freedia, TS Madison, Honey Dijon, Sad, Moi Renee, MikeQ and Kevin Aviance – who are just some of the fantastic artists in the community. Beyoncé’s inclusion of their talents is another example of growing equality and acceptance in the music industry. 

Though it is rare to come by, having it exist on this large of a scale is heavily important.  Hearing other LGBTQ+ artists’ voices on the radio, even if it’s just a sampling of their work, is incredibly empowering.

“I’M THE GIRL” is the upbeat and pushing intro to the album and exists to not only ground the listener to the fact Beyoncé is back with a new album, but also to remind them how powerful she is as a woman.

Beyoncé also touches on the extreme emotional importance of body acceptance and allowing yourself to be who you are. One of the talents that make Beyonce stand out from the crowd is how accepting she is of herself and how empowering the music she creates can be. 

Songs like “THIQUE” and “COZY” represent and emphasize the effects of self-love talk can have. Telling yourself that you love your body and who you are is one of the best mindsets in life because it leads a person to a happier and healthier connection with themselves.

“ENERGY,” a song partly produced by Skrillex, is a fascinating pop-dance song. Though it is short in runtime, it offers a transition to the promotional single Beyoncé released in June 2022. Both songs are companions and find their way to audibly collaborate and could have the potential of being the dirty dancing pop song fans have been waiting to hit the club for years.

Another standout song is “ALIEN SUPERSTAR.” Despite its funny name, the song takes itself seriously as it grounds its work filled with inspiration based on sounds from space. The song begins with a marvelous narration and then transitions to a song about the unique and desire filled qualities Beyoncé and the listener potentially have. This song expresses a certain amount of movement and inspiration that we haven’t gotten from music in the genre for quite some time now.

“AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM” is unfortunately not a surprising title for a song to have. Unlike what its title portrays, it discusses and represents the more erotic and lustful mindsets inside America. 

“PURE/HONEY” is a double-sided song with  a sensual take on purity and how that can affect a person. 

“ALL UP IN YOUR MIND,” “VIRGO’S GROOVE,” and “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” are all songs with lengthy runtimes with a mix of slow and romantic undertones. One of the best things Beyoncé brings to the table with this album are these three songs due to how unexpected and surprising they are to exist on an album of this genre. They find a way to be special enough to stand out while also being the perfect amount of romantic.

“MOVE” is a song that includes collaborations from artist Grace Jones and Tems. 

Tems is an upcoming African American artist who stands out due to her vocal qualities and songwriting, even getting a spot on the new “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack. 

Grace Jones is nothing new to the industry. Her musical past has expression in the forms of the very genre Beyoncé is taking on now — 1980s dance-pop. Grace Jones certified her legacy decades ago and appearing on this album was simply just the cherry on top. 

Saying “Renaissance” is just Act I of III is an incredible statement to make. It’s an album Beyoncé could have given and left fans with — yet she decided to give and make us more art in the very near future. 

For once, Beyoncé has proven that taking the nearly five years time between albums was worth it due to the mix of quality and quantity that she has delivered. This album is the perfect representation of LGBTQ+, African American and feminist culture – and Beyoncé is only one-third done with saying what she wants, too. 

Gabe Kanae can be reached at jaedynyoung@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.

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