Beyoncé uses the disco to empower herself on her brand new album "renaissance"

Beyoncé uses the disco to empower herself on her brand new album "renaissance"

In lemonadehis last studio album until a few days ago, Beyonce shared with Kendrick Lamar an incendiary theme titled “Freedom” (“Freedom”). At that time it was 2016 and the growth of Donald Trump appeared as a threat to the American black community; then, the pop diva stood strong at the end of an album mainly dedicated to the path that goes from suspicion to anger and from there forgiveness (for an infidelity of her husband, rapper Jay-Z). “Formation”, another of the tracks on that album, called on women to form a column in the face of the possibility of losing their rights.

Six years later, that quasi-dystopian panorama that Beyoncé (and Kendrick Lamar too) could sense is already installed: there is nothing more to mention George Floyd and the Supreme Court revoking Roe vs. Wade to remember it. But the Compton rapper has already distanced himself from the (never claimed) role of spokesman for the black community with Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, appeared in May. And then Queen Bey announced an album called renaissance and in the list of subjects appeared the title “America Has a Problem” (“United States has a problem”).

Of course, Beyoncé is not Joan Baez and it only takes a few seconds of “I’m That Girl”, the album’s opening track, to understand what revivals she seems to be referring to. On the record, Beyonce she gets into the disco and is not willing to leave until half the planet understands once and for all that dancing can also be a political act. Instead of angrily asking where freedom is, here Bey decides to exercise it and, incidentally, invite an entire community to share it. The 16 songs on the album are glued together (although not mixed), which is another message for the listener: don’t stop moving until the body prevails over the mindbecause then the focus of your thinking will have changed.

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the album is full of references / tributes to black dance music, from the funk and disco of the ’70s to the house of the late ’90s, although trap, soul and hip hop also sneak in. She took it upon herself to make it known that the album was something of a tribute to her Uncle Johnny, who introduced her to queer club culture before he died of an AIDS-related illness: “Uncle Johnny made my dress / That cheap Spandex / it looked like a mess”, she sings on “Heated”, where overflows sensuality.

At 41, Bey it’s burning also on “Virgo’s Groove”, where she rocks on a track that at times reminds of Everything But The Girl and blurts out: “There’s nothing I want like I love you / a psychic was right, she told me we have things to do / No We have time like before / But we still shine like before / And we still squeak like before / And we cut ties when we need it / But I need you more in me and me in you “.

Although in another tone, the rest of the album is also sensual and sexual, and a celebration of love in various forms. “Dominating is the best way to win you over / Sorry about yesterday, let’s go sweeter now / You’re a sweetie, come on and let me eat you,” she prompts on “Summer Renaissance,” before giving in to the melody that Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellote created for Donna Summer on the immortal disco anthem “I Feel Love.”

Grace Jonesanother icon of the mirror ball era, appears in “Move”, as does the “newcomer” Items. “Cuff It” also refers to the dancefloor of the late ’70s, so it’s not surprising to read the name of Nile Rodgers in the credits. The Chic guitarist, among other things, was the producer of Madonna’s first album, whose aura at the time of “Vogue” flies over part of “Alien Superstar”. There Bey is presented as the measuring stick for “sexy bitches” and states that it is not even worth competing with her. “UNIQUE”, she says of herself, with that empowerment which he had already aired on “Cozy” and “I’m That Girl”.

In “All Up in Your Mind” and “America Has a Problem”, Bey visits a more contemporary nightclub, the one from the trap era. Of course he does it his way: in the first case, the song seems to be remixed by an Aphex Twin in a good mood; in the second, the blessed hihat at hyperspeed, some vocal effect, the bestial bass and the rapping coexist with a melody that Moroder would have loved to compose.

Sometimes Bey goes overboard with integrating genres. Of course, with such a vocal talent she’s up for anything and you don’t need to understand the lyrics to know what sensations go through her. But “Summer Renaissance ” and “Virgo’s Groove” keep sounding like a couple of songs thrown into a blender. And although “Pure / Honey” also sounds like two different songs, the very title suggests that… they are actually two different songs.

On the contrary, when everything is in focus, gems like the single “Break My Soul” appear. There the reference is bounce, a variant of hip hop that emerged in New Orleansand Bey brings her to the fore by sampling the trans rapper and producer Big Freedom. And she doesn’t stop there: in the production of “Cozy” she has another reference of the genre, the trans DJ Honey Dijon. Uncle Johnny’s message paid off and, as another influencer put it, “doing is better than saying.”

Oh, and regarding “America Has a Problem”, the lyrics have nothing to do with the social, political and economic earthquake in the United States today. It’s actually named after a song (by Kilo Ali) that she samples, the title of which also includes the word “Cocaine” in parentheses. The lyrics, in which she presents herself as addictive, are not the most brilliant on the album. But there’s no denying that Beyoncé feels empowered, and it’s clear from the very cover art of renaissance : Bey is a bikini-clad general atop an ice horse, ready to go into battle… at Studio 54.

Source: Pagina12

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