The queen has risen
What else would I be talking about this week aside from Beyonce?
“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. 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, and feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
Setting the mood: I am writing this week’s newsletter in the presence of my mom who is arguing with people on social media about Beyonce and this album. She has quotes, data and nothing but time to support her thoughts.
When I've talked to people about Beyonce's new album Renaissance, the phrase that I keep saying is, "What a thrill?" I am unsure why I keep saying this, but it could come from the fact that this album took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt like dancing. I felt like running on a treadmill. I felt like putting on a gold sparkly dress and spinning. I felt liberated, and I felt free. Sis had a bucket of emotions. I also deeply felt what my friend Andrea said about the album: Beyonce created the album we needed, which is 1000% true. There is so much shit going on in the world, or even just waking up to work can feel like a chore sometimes, and this album has been and will continue to be a perfect distraction or mood music if you don't need a distraction.
The album flows seamlessly from start to finish as songs fade perfectly into each other. You can listen to this album from start to finish without skips, and it takes you on a journey of a confident woman, complete with anthems and many, many, many bops. I will spare you all the details of why each song is my favorite, but I will say: "CUFF IT" has perhaps made its home in my top 20 favorite Beyonce songs because SISTER WAS REALLLLLLY IN HER BAG WITH THIS SONG. I also love "COZY," "ENERGY," "CHURCH GIRL," "PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA," "VIRGO'S GROOVE," "MOVE," and "THIQUE," which is my anthem. Also, the samples on the album are great and expansive. Here is a list of all the samples used throughout the album. (My two favorite “Church Girl” TikToks are here and here)
With all the good comes a theme consistent with Beyonce's projects - the haters who don't understand greatness when they see it. Those peasants (dramatic) who try to throw beans (rice is celebratory) at the queen for a moment of fame. There have been critiques about the album from people like Kelis, who went on a public rant on social media and whose credits were removed from the album, or Diane Warren's comments about the number of songwriters on certain songs. If Beyonce did want 24 writers on one song - who cares? Queens do what they want. (Note, however, there were not 24 writers on one song. Beyonce credited the original samples singer as writers on the tracks). There's also Monica Lewinsky, who wants her name removed from the 2013 song "Partition." I won't go much into that because I have many questions and thoughts and just had an intense debate about it. But, there's always something.
I have also heard some people say that they don't know how to feel about the album because it's such a departure from Beyonce's other music, and I think that's one of the things I appreciate most about the album. I like that whenever we get new music from Beyonce, it always pushes the envelope musically or visually. She has grown over time, and her music has more confidence and transparency than it did in the past. Beyonce always takes us on a journey to show what she is inspired by and currently influencing her; honestly, it's beautiful. I'm not trying to hear "Me, Myself and I" adjacent songs in 2022 as we continue to live through Monkeypox and the pandemic. I do find my stance to be super hypocritical on this topic, however, because although I enjoy the pivots with Beyonce, I still find myself baffled by Christina Aguilera's Flapper-Era pivot and Kanye West's many, many, many, many, many evolutions. Both left me flabbergasted with what was going on, while Beyonce's evolution made me feel like growth.
Being that this is just Act 1, I am curious to see what the following acts sound like. I am hopeful for a rap album from her being in the mix somewhere. Here are just a few parting lines from the different articles about the album that stuck with me:
“This is to say that “Renaissance” is an album about performance — of other pop’s past, but ultimately of Beyoncé, a star who’s now 40, an age when the real risk is in acting like you’ve got nothing to lose.”
Beyonce’s Renaissance Is a Big, Gay Mess (The Atlantic)
“Besides, the affinity between this album and the lineage it channels is not just cosmetic. Renaissance will play, to many, as exhausting, as indulgent, as ridiculous, as childish, as oversexed, as too much. But committing oneself to pleasure as fully as Beyoncé has here takes defiance and guts—and, more deeply, faith in the preciousness of one’s own experience. Somehow she has found a way to make messages of individual empowerment, which can be so trite in pop, jolt again. “No one else in this world can think like me,” she says, a brag that is true for all of us, whether we embrace it or not, as we cut a trail in this world.”
“And Beyoncé, like most other artists today, took advance orders for physical copies of her album, which will count on the charts as soon as they are shipped — usually the week of release. On Beyoncé’s website, the four boxed sets of “Renaissance” and its limited-edition vinyl version are sold out.”
+ I also created a playlist inspired by the Beyonce album called VIBING which you can listen to here.
A few more things worth sharing this week:
As mentioned in this newsletter, I am working on refining my goals for the remainder of the year and this was such a great episode of the Life with Marianna podcast where she shares how to refocus and get check-in on your goals and intentions.
Loved this article on food as identity. This article speaks with Korean Chefs who were adopted and how they find their culture through cooking: “For a Korean adoptee, eating Korean food can be a reminder of the loss, grief and disconnection they’ve experienced. Cooking may intensify those feelings.”
Bloop so many words in this article about the end of ambition that resonated with me: “… had good boundaries, creative outlets and strong relationships; but when I asked if she ever burnt out, she is unequivocal. “Oh, definitely.” She felt the burden of representation too. “Being one of the only women of colour in leadership at most of the companies I worked, it quite often fell to me to have a say – and it’s draining, to be honest. I want to make a difference, but it’s extra work.”
That’s it for this week! ✌🏾