Beyonce delivered an experience… but it’s not one I wanted

Now before I get into this and before the beehive rips me to shreds, I am and will forever be a fan of Beyonce. She reached icon status in Destiny’s Child and has broken through every ceiling since. She sends the world into a tailspin whenever she releases an album, and ‘Renaissance’ is no different.

However, I was worried when Bey released ‘Break My Soul’ earlier this year. As down as I was for collectively saying fuck you to our bosses in a bad bitch power move, the beat threw me off. I’ve never been a fan of dance music (outside of a few classics), and if this was a sign of things to come, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it fully – and that’s what happened.

From start to finish, Renaissance was screaming at me to embrace a lifestyle I no longer have an interest in.

This is not a criticism of the Queen or her artistry, so relax. Renaissance is no ordinary dance album – it’s ode to the Black LGBTQ+ community, and its celebration of Black joy is enough to warrant it iconic, but aside from that, Renaissance didn’t do it for me. I’m sorry.

For months we have been united in our collective mood of prioritising cancelling plans and being in bed by 10 pm. Did Bey not get the memo? From start to finish, Renaissance was screaming at me to embrace a lifestyle I no longer have an interest in. Everyone who knows me knows how much I bow down to the Queen, but after ‘Plastic Off The Sofa’, I found myself lost in the noise, and because of the seamless transitions everyone is so fond of, I didn’t even notice when a song had changed. I was dropping off – just as I would if I went to a club today, I’d be ready to head home after the first hour.

I understand Beyonce’s urge to create an album that was fun and took people out themselves because the last few years have been tragic – and she is not alone in that sentiment. Not to compare the two, but when I think about Lizzo’s latest album, ‘Special’, albeit the vibe is similar, I enjoyed it more because the whole album tells a story that I can appreciate.

I hate to say it, but Renaissance simply fell short and felt a tad shallow. Aside from the album’s subtext, there wasn’t much else to sink my teeth into. Not all music has to be relatable or have a deep, sentimental meaning, but it’s hard seeing Bey go from the prowess of ‘Lemonade’ – even ‘The Gift’ – to an album with a message I could get from any Black female artist embracing her “thique-ness”, sexuality and the designer labels she covets.

There’s a lot I admire about Renaissance. Bey has put the Black back in dance music, sampled legends like Donna Summer and Grace Jones, and produced an album that actually feels like a complete body of work – something Bey has been critical of artists not doing nowadays. But instead of feeling euphoric and energised, by the time I got to ‘America Has A Problem’, I wanted it to end.

Maybe in time, I’ll reinterpret Renaissance differently. If this album had come out six years ago, I’d be blasting it daily and finding any excuse to talk about it. But until I go back to such a headspace, I’ll happily watch from the sidelines. I’ll get my 8 hours, and you can get your ‘Virgo’s Groove’ on. I believe Renaissance is 1 of 3 parts to this era of Beyonce. When she drops the next one, I hope I can appreciate it more than I did this one.  

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