'Break My Soul' review: Beyonce releases new summer anthem ahead of 'Renaissance'

The pop star channels the spirit of the times with the dance heavy track as she teases her new album

Beyonce is set to rule the summer with new dance anthem 'Break My Soul'. AFP
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One of the biggest effects of Covid-19 has had on pop music is the growing embrace of uplifting dance sounds.

Dua Lipa hinted at this sea change with the release of blockbuster album Future Nostalgia in March 2020, followed up two months later by Chromatica by Lady Gaga.

Drake also joined into the action when releasing Honestly, Nevermind last week, a thrilling yet divisive release full of house and techno tracks.

A student of pop music, Beyonce channels the spirit of the times with Break My Soul.

It is a monster single that functions as her Ray of Light, the smash hit by Madonna that saw her transition into full club diva in 1998.

Built on the prominent sampling of Big Freedia's bounce track Explode (2014) and Robin S's pop-dance hit Show Me Love (1993), Beyonce hasn’t sounded this carefree since her days with Destiny’s Child.

Break My Soul is an unabashed crowd pleaser.

The four on the floor rhythm is laced with the throbbing keyboard lines of Show Me Love.

Beyonce’s vocals are confident and uncharacteristically unassuming.

Lost in the euphoria of the production she delivers her lines in short and sharp stabs, adding to the song’s overall barrelling rhythm.

Where the track is produced by long term collaborators Tricky Stewart and The Dream, the writing credits allude to some interesting songwriting sessions as part of Beyonce's upcoming album Renaissance, out July 29.

Beyonce at 40 - in pictures

In addition to husband and hip-hop artist Jay-Z, also contributing is Adam Pigott, also known as BlaqNmilD, a New Orleans producer who worked with Drake and Megan Thee Stallion.

The lyrics are straightforward and the opening couplets will probably inspire thousands of inspirational memes: “Now, I just fell in love, and I just quit my job/ I'm gonna find new drive, damn, they work me so damn hard/ Work by nine, then off past five/ And they work my nerves, that's why I cannot sleep at night."

The rest of the lyrics, particularly in the third verse, chides those unauthentic ("Trying to fake it, never makes it”) and implores us to be the change we seek, or as Bey puts it: "If you didn’t seek it, you won’t see it."

This is all hugely satisfying and serves to ramp up the anticipation surrounding Renaissance.

Information about Beyonce's seventh album has been slowly trickling out.

In 2021, she told Harper's Bazaar the album aims to be a source of release after the tension of the last few years.

“With all the isolation and injustice over the past year, I think we are all ready to escape, travel, love, and laugh again,” she said.

“I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible."

With the album title prefaced with the words "Act I" on the art work, we can also assume more music is on the way from Beyonce.

This a hunch further strengthened by comments from British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful who, after hearing select tracks from Renaissance, teased that a "thrilling abundance" of music is coming our way.

Beyonce is the magazine's July cover star.

As for the personnel involved, it has been reported that producers and songwriters Ryan Tedder from One Republic (who co-wrote Beyonce's hit Halo) and Raphael Saadiq are involved in the project.

With Break My Soul skyrocketing up the charts and clubs preparing their sound systems for the single, not to mention remixes, Beyonce has already laid the groundwork for delivering the soundtrack for the summer.

Scroll through the gallery below to see Beyonce's style evolution over the years

Updated: June 21, 2022, 12:54 PM
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