Beyoncé ‘Renaissance’ tops Spotify and Apple Music charts, drawing rave reviews

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It seems that Queen Bey still rules.

Beyoncé is garnering rave reviews for her album “Renaissance” released on Friday, which is already hailed as “the most talked about release of the year.”

In large part, that’s because she’s, well, Beyoncé, the $450 million artist who’s already sold over 100 million records. On top of that, she hasn’t released a studio album since 2016’s “Lemonade,” which left fans pretty thirsty. So it’s no surprise that “Beyoncé” is trending on Twitter TWTR,
+1.76%
for most of Friday, and “Renaissance” and its song titles filled US Twitter trends as the album’s release approached.

But “Renaissance” has also already sparked some controversy. Kelis, the artist best known for the 2003 single “Milkshake,” slammed Beyoncé for not asking permission to sample one of her songs from the album. And some noted that “Break My Soul,” the lead single from “Renaissance,” didn’t exactly receive an outstanding response. (It’s only No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.)

However, the rest of the tracklist was generating a lot of buzz by the album’s release date. “Renaissance” was at the top of Apple AAPL,
+3.28%
Friday’s Top Music Albums chart and several “Renaissance” songs, including “I’m That Girl,” “Alien Superstar” and “Cozy” topped the Top Songs chart. And the closing track “Summer Renaissance” was #1 on the Spotify SPOT,
-1.37%
Today’s Top Hits playlist later today as well.

Still, her BeyHive fan base is waiting for new music. And a sampling of key reviews suggests Beyoncé delivered:

Washington Post: “It’s music that does good in the sense that it’s also music that does everything. Drawing on the forward pulses of house, disco and more, Beyoncé uses rhythm to push in expansive emotional directions, singing about dignity and desire in every detail. On top of that, amidst thick layers of instrumentation and sampling, she speaks to the extraordinary breadth of American black dance music writ large.

The Guardian: “’Renaissance’, for the most part, ventures beyond pastiche into much more eclectic and adventurous territory – a beautiful soundtrack to a wild summer of chaos and joy. The fast bounce mixes with bright Diana Ross-inspired disco, soulful hues, sultry Afrobeats and gqom; swirling trap, swaggering house, Jersey Club, New Jack Swing, and even gritty, hard-hitting maximalism (courtesy of PC Music’s AG Cook) on “All Up in Your Mind”—often all in the span of a single song .

Rolling Stone: “What strikes first in ‘Renaissance’ are its soft atmospheres. Even some of the fastest cuts here feature Bey’s hypnotic choruses in a smooth, understated register, which is remarkable, considering some of his most iconic hits are raucous, melisma-infused anthems, like “Love on Top from 2011. These 16 songs, which weave together deep house, Afrobeats and elegant early ’80s boogie, stand out as playful relics of an analog era in which even great dance-friendly singles felt as lush and organic as the introspective songs you might zone home on a lazy afternoon.

Pitchfork: “There’s a playfulness to the way Beyoncé hops through sounds and eras on ‘Renaissance’, enhanced by the album’s light lyrical density. The urgency ripped from the headlines of “Lemonade” has been replaced with anthems of love, connection, and giving everything to the power of the moment.

Slant: “Beyoncé’s nods to the titans of this realm of dance music aren’t exactly subtle, but they don’t have to be. She gets into a loud conversation with personalities like the inimitable Grace Jones, whom she accompanies for a few guest vocals on “Move”, and Donna Summer, whose “I Feel Love” that the singer happily interpolates on the album “Summer Renaissance”. Equipping this disco classic with a bass drum and her own wet trills, Beyoncé moves us from both past and present and places us in her unique ecosystem, where the beats seem to go on forever as history and future clash.

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