Beyonce’s long-awaited seventh studio album, Renaissance, has been praised by critics as “another remarkable record” in her catalogue and a “celebration of living abundantly”.
The 16-track work has arrived six years after her last full-length solo offering, 2016’s Lemonade, and was preceded by the house music-influenced single Break My Soul.
The album, which was leaked early, has been billed in an official release as a “celebration of a club era when anyone who felt like an outsider sought each other and formed a community of freedom-seekers to express themselves creatively through the rhythm, which we still celebrate today”.
It received high praise from The Times, scoring four out of five stars, with the reviewer concluding the piece by writing: “Most of all, the impression Renaissance gives is that Beyonce, whose singing is as dynamic as it has ever been, has replaced overthinking with disco grooving.
“It doesn’t seem like a bad way of dealing with the age of anxiety.”
The four out of five star sentiment was echoed by The Guardian, whose reviewer said of the album: “Renaissance falls short of being Beyonce’s best full-length, but it still fulfils her liberationist aims.
“It’s a celebration of living abundantly and outside the realms of others’ expectations, and acts as a reminder of how rare it is to witness this hyper-drilled artist simply having fun on her own terms.
“Her sense of freedom throughout is palpable, and an infectious spur to action.”
NME, another publication who gave the album four stars, said it “marks the sound of an artist refreshed: this is her most relentlessly upbeat and fun record yet, one where she explores love, friendship and relationships across 16 spellbinding tracks”.
They added: “On Renaissance, she’s added another remarkable record to her repertoire, this time one to continue leading the charge to bring black culture back to the forefront of house and dance scenes.
“Renaissance does precisely what it says on the tin; the revival of black classics, and she makes sure a lot of love goes into that.”
Another four-star review came from the Evening Standard, whose critic praised the album’s sense of hedonism.
They said: “She’s ready to be superficial, appearing to have no bigger plan than lighting up the club on her most upbeat collection.
“Songs flow together like a club mix and while the beats shift across a wide range of dance subgenres, they rarely slow down.”
The Daily Telegraph also gave Renaissance four stars and described it as a “vast superclub of an album”.
The newspaper’s reviewer added: “But for all its inventiveness, its flavours exist within fairly narrow parameters.
“Still, these songs will be blasted out of cars, at house parties, in hotel rooms and on dance floors for years to come.”