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BEST OF CULTURE 2022: Day 1 - Beyoncé - 'Renaissance'

Beyonce released 'Renaissance' in June to critical acclaim
Beyonce released 'Renaissance' in June to critical acclaim Copyright Columbia Records
Copyright Columbia Records
By Tim Gallagher
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Welcome to the first day of our Cultural advent calendar, in which we’ll be counting down our highlights of 2022 day-by-day. First seven days: our musical favourites of the year.

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Welcome to the first day of our Cultural Advent Calendar, in which we’ll be counting down our highlights of 2022 day-by-day all the way to Christmas and beyond. The first seven days are our musical favourites of the year...

It takes a lot to get this jaded reporter’s heart racing. So when Beyoncé’s socials went black in June, it was quite the event.

New music? Now? What could this mean?

Despite a boring collab with her husband and a clothing line that looked like it was made by UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, Bey hadn't released an album since ‘Lemonade,’ otherwise known as the greatest heartbreak album ever made (sorry Adele / Lizzo / Olivia Rodrigo).

I was sure we were in for a treat... And as always, I was right!

‘Renaissance’ has bops to satiate every worker in the Beyhive and it was satisfying to hear Beyoncé’s signature honey-coated vocals once again. But this time - and this is the genius twist - Beyonce is queer now?

Ok, probably not but the disco and house rhythms that run through ‘Renaissance,’ the ballroom references, and her collaborations with people like Grace Jones and Honey Dijon give the entire affair a made-for-queer-clubs feel which is appropriate as that’s where it’s mostly going to be played.

‘Alien Superstar’ gave the internet plenty to work with (it was the dubbed video of Maya Angelou reciting the lyrics at the UN for me) while the word UNIQUE popped into everyone’s heads at random intervals throughout the day. The genius of sampling Donna Summer in ‘Summer Renaissance’ cannot be surpassed, while the pure sexuality of ‘Virgo’s Groove’ reminds us that in addition to being a talented songstress and powerful cultural figure, Beyoncé is also very, very horny.

Perhaps the best thing about ‘Renaissance’ however is that it was released at a time when we could actually go out and dance. 

Last time a fave released a dance floor hit-filled album following a lengthy break (Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’) we were all locked in the house and forced to resign ourselves to living room discos. This time around, things couldn't be more different and to be frank the excitement of a DJ unexpectedly playing ‘Cuff It’ in the club is something I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from.

‘Renaissance’ really made my summer and - given my penchant for listening to the same music over and over again - it will probably make quite a few in the future too.

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