Here's what critics had to say about Beyoncé's seventh album 'Renaissance'

Here's what critics had to say about Beyoncé's seventh album 'Renaissance'
  • Beyoncé released her seventh studio album "Renaissance" on July 29, 2022.

  • She described the club-inspired music as "a place to scream, release, feel freedom."

  • Critics agree the album is "joyous" and "playful," but some say it falls short of Beyoncé's best work.

Beyoncé unveiled her seventh album "Renaissance" to critical acclaim.

Released six years after "Lemonade," which has been described as her magnum opus, "Renaissance" ventured into new sonic territory with a self-assured blend of New Orleans bounce, '70s disco-pop, gospel, funk, and techno. In a statement released on her website, Beyoncé described the new album as "a beautiful journey of exploration" and "a place to scream, release, feel freedom."

"Renaissance" has a score of 91/100 on Metacritic, indicating very positive reviews — though some reviewers say it falls short of Beyoncé's best work.

Note: This article has been updated since its original publish date. Business Insider's music team later named "Renaissance" the best album of 2022.

"Renaissance" is more fun and carefree than much of Beyoncé's catalog, taking a step back from personal and political revelations.

beyonce renaissance press photo
Mason Poole

"Compared to 'Beyoncé' and 'Lemonade' — the prior two heavily centered on the singer's feminism, intimate journey with her husband's infidelity, and restoration of self after betrayal, 'Renaissance' is all about joy." — Taylor Crumpton, Essence

"This is her most relentlessly upbeat and fun record yet." — Kyann-Sian Williams, NME

"Although there are sharp lines such as 'them Karens just turned into terrorists' and musings on how Beyoncé embodies 'this un-American life,' for the most part 'Renaissance' finds its politics in Black joy." — Tara Joshi, The Guardian

"No vice is off limits, hedonism isn't a thing, and everything in this place is better than what's outside. 'Lemonade' lacked this joy for obvious reasons, so hearing Beyoncé do her best impression of a Siren from 'The Odyssey' is heartwarming, if only because her happiness is contagious." — Marcus Shorter, Consequence of Sound

"This is by no means the first time that she has switched things up, but it's Beyoncé at her most playful." — Jumi Akinfenwa, Stereogum

The album is both eclectic and cohesive, best enjoyed in one sitting — not on shuffle.

beyonce Renaissance press photo
Carlijn Jacobs

"The songs flow as a continuous mix, with beat-switches reigning supreme." — Tara Joshi, The Guardian

"The transitions between tracks are seamless, fully transporting the listener to Club 'Renaissance.' As standalone tracks, you simply do not get that same immersive experience." — Jumi Akinfenwa, Stereogum

"The album's pace is continually played with, much like a DJ spinning tracks in a club, and the final result is like one brilliant set on a night out." — David Cobbald, The Line of Best Fit

"Pick one: relationship status, social status, or commas in bank account status…? Bey says none of that matters when measured against the natural force she and women worldwide possess on principle. That ethos continues as one track seamlessly blends into the next using music cues or instruments. 'Cozy' changes tempo and melody as it reaches its climax. That newly-established rhythm and those freshly minted drums segue into 'Alien Superstar.' 'Renaissance' is a puzzle, with each song a separate piece." — Marcus Shorter, Consequence of Sound

Beyoncé's nuanced vocal performance lends a lot of gravitas.

beyonce renaissance press photo
Mason Poole

"The occasional light touch showcased on the similarly chill opener, 'I'm That Girl,' suits Beyoncé well. It's a welcome contrast to the rushed, energetic vocal runs of her early days, which sometimes sounded a bit sterile, even when they were seductive." — Will Dukes, Rolling Stone

"Her vocal tones are pitch-perfect for their respective musical backdrops." — Marcus Shorter, Consequence of Sound

"In all of the excitement surrounding the samples and Easter eggs, Beyoncé reminds us that she is, first and foremost, a vocalist, her range shining the most on the comparably subdued 'Plastic Off The Sofa' and 'Virgo's Groove.'" — Jumi Akinfenwa, Stereogum

"She sells it ... thanks to her convincing vocal power: beautifully melismatic on 'Virgo's Groove,' commanding on 'Move,' channeling her Houston roots in quick-fire bars on the ferocious, exhilarating breakdown on 'Heated.'" — Tara Joshi, The Guardian

"Alien Superstar," which samples Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy," is a standout.

beyonce renaissance press photo
Mason Poole

"It's on 'Alien Superstar' where she expands her influences, and draws on ballroom culture. With the credits boasting a hefty cast (Labrinth, Lucky Daye, 070 Shake, Jay-Z) the song pairs a thumping rhythm with an understated, posh accented rap — the hallmarks of a ballroom MC — and flirts with fluttery high register; this instantly becomes the record's most indulgent and intriguing track." — Kyann-Sian Williams, NME

"If the pulsing rhythms of the music aren't enough, wait until you get to lyrics like 'Keep him addicted, lies on his lips, I lick it,' from the standout 'Alien Superstar.'" — Dylan Green, Pitchfork

"Synthesizers creep in the background of this futuristic romp that is lyrically rich and musically zigzagging. 'I'm the only one / Don't even waste your time trying to compete with me,' Beyoncé declares over the stomping beat that eventually gets to its thesis: Celebrate being unique." — Melissa Ruggieri, USA Today

Overall, critics agree that "Renaissance" is a thrilling departure for Beyoncé, but it's not her best album.

beyonce renaissance press photo
Mason Poole

"Is this an evolution from 'Lemonade?' Not quite. But with 'Renaissance,' Beyoncé is more relatable than ever, giving listeners all the anthems and sultry slow burners we love and have come to expect from her, proving that inclusivity is the new black." — Will Dukes, Rolling Stone

"'Renaissance' falls short of being Beyoncé's best full-length, but it still fulfills 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-disciplined artist simply having fun on her own terms." — Tara Joshi, The Guardian

"Hedonistic, erotic, experimental and ultimately just great fun, 'Renaissance' isn't without its faults, but that's what makes it so good." — Jumi Akinfenwa, Stereogum

"This is a vast superclub of an album. 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." — James Hall, The Telegraph

Business Insider's own music team rates the album a 9.4/10.

beyonce renaissance album cover
Carlijn Jacobs/Parkwood

"Renaissance" is a must-hear addition to Beyoncé's oeuvre and a true no-skips album.

The best songs are "Alien Superstar," "Cuff It," "Virgo's Groove," and "Heated," though we're less enthralled with "Thique" and "All Up In Your Mind."

Worth listening to:

"I'm That Girl"


"Alien Superstar"

"Cuff It"

"Break My Soul"

"Church Girl"

"Plastic Off the Sofa"

"Virgo's Groove"



"America Has a Problem"


"Summer Renaissance"

Background music:


"All Up In Your Mind"

Split decision:


Press skip:


*Final album score based on songs per category (1 point for "Worth listening to," .5 for "Background music," .5 for "Split decision," 0 for "Press skip").

Read the original article on Insider