This past weekend, I flew to Toronto for the first North American date of Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour. I came home feeling like the human embodiment of the starry-eyed emoji (so many sparkles!) and with a newfound appreciation for “Renaissance,” the loose, sprawling album Beyoncé released this time last year.
Renaissance, Beyoncé’s seventh studio album, is a sonic epic through the history of dance music, with a particular focus on the genre’s black and queer pioneers. It strikes the perfect balance of several opposing forces: “Renaissance” is thoughtful and referential but still maintains a pleasant lightness. It celebrates community and a kind of artistic pluralism while still focusing on Beyoncé’s unique star power. It contains a few of Beyoncé’s strongest singles and yet plays like a DJ set going: Sometimes I’ll feel like hearing a certain song, and before I know it, I’ll be listening to the rest of the album in its entirety – again!
Watching the way Beyoncé performed some of these songs live helped me hear new elements on an album I’ve already played nearly four billion times. Part of that has to do with the way it placed “Renaissance” songs in the context of the evolution of its own catalog (the hard-hitting “Vampy” “Diva” from 2008 sounds like a transition from Beyoncé’s future), but it also made sure to locate “Renaissance.” within a larger continuum of pop music, electronic sounds, and black and queer culture.
This is a project I’d like to continue with today’s playlist, which is sort of a musical tour of the samples, references, and influences heard on “Renaissance.” He is most indebted to a wonderful clip that music journalist and electronic dance music scholar Michaelangelo Matos wrote for The Times immediately after the album’s release, which served as a listening guide to its many audio footnotes.
Come on the ride as Beyoncé honors her Chicago home AdonisPost-millennium bounce off Big Frediathe pulsating bass sound Reese and much more. I hope this playlist helps you hear “Renaissance” again, learn a little about the history of electronic music or maybe make you like Beyoncé and Grace Jones. moves.
1. Adonis: “There’s No Going Back”
One of the early formative classics of Chicago house—a local subgenre of dance music that popped up in the Windy City underground club scene in the mid-1980s—Adonis’ 1986 track “No Way Back” has a menacing intensity and bleak low end that would prove hugely influential… (Listen on YouTube)
2. Beyoncé: “Cozy”
… And “Cozy,” the second single from “Renaissance,” certainly carries that influence. Production and writing credit from Chicago-born DJ and musician Honey Dijon add some house music cred to this hypnotic track. (Listen on YouTube)
3. Chic: “Good Times”
Sumptuous, timeless, transcendent—Chic’s shimmering “Good Times,” from 1979, remains one of the most popular and most popular tunes in dance music history. Bernard Edwards’ vocal line is a beautiful thing, given his extended solo. (Listen on YouTube)
4. Beyoncé: “Cuff It”
If you’re going to pay tribute to Chic, as Beyoncé does in that disco smash, you might get Nile Rodgers on the right track. “When I was called to play this song, it was the most organic thing that had ever happened to me,” Rodgers said He said, by accepting a Grammy when “Cuff It” won Best R&B Song. (Beyoncé was fashionably behind). “I heard the song and I just said, ‘I want to keep playing that. now.’ And it was a one-shot, I promise.” (Listen on YouTube)
5. Robin S: “Show Me Love”
Propelled by the unmistakable sound of the Korg M1 Organ 2, this 1992 song – technically a remix, by Swedish producer StoneBridge, is something few have heard of from the 1990’s. a path By Robin Stone – Brought house music into the mainstream in the early 1990s, the oft-sampled keyboard hit is still ubiquitous today. (Listen on YouTube)
6. Big Freedia: “Explode”
Beyoncé sampled Big Freedia, aka Queen of Bounce, on her 2016 hit song “Formation.” She once again drew from the smoldering energy of the New Orleans musician on “Break My Soul,” which samples her 2014 single “Explode.” (Listen on YouTube)
7. Beyoncé: “Break My Soul”
The home homage has been updated with some new reflections from the New Orleans throwback, and the renaissance debut single “Break My Soul” was a good introduction to the album’s kinetic and highly referential sound. (Although, as reporter Rich Jozwiak found when he spoke to StoneBridge and Robin S., exactly how “Break My Soul” directly references “Show Me Love” for discussion.) (Listen on YouTube)
8. Reese / Kevin Saunderson: “I just want another chance”
“Reese bass” refers to the dark, deceptive low end that loops through the foundation of “Just Want Another Chance,” a pivotal Detroit techno track released by Kevin Saunderson—under the Reese moniker—in 1988. Reese has become so popular that there are a number of Countless patches and presets now replicate Saunderson’s pioneering bass sound. (Listen on YouTube)
9. Beyoncé: “America has a problem.”
Most of the people who get on the Renaissance World Tour come when Beyoncé plays it live—dressed in a custom Mugler bee costume and performing from behind a desk as if she’s a news anchor trying to brainwash the world. Reese’s heavily indebted riffs give this song, and her live performance, an ominous edge. (Listen on YouTube)
10. AG Cook: “Beautiful”
In the mid-to-late 2010s, experimental production collective PC Music pushed pop music to its craziest, synthetic extremes, entertaining ideas of surface gloss and outrageous ideas. English producer AG Cook was at the forefront of this wave (sometimes called hyperpop), and his infectious “Beautiful”, from the 2015 compilation “PC Music Volume 1”, was emblematic of his distinctive sound. (Listen on YouTube)
11. Beyoncé: “It’s all in your mind”
Beyoncé outgrows – sort of – the deformed earworm that Cook himself co-produced. The instrumentals sound like a broken computer program, but there’s a heightened physical force in Beyoncé’s voice that gives the song intriguing textual friction and keeps things in the realm of flesh and blood. (Listen on YouTube)
12. Donna Summer: “I Feel Love”
Arguably the most inventive and influential dance record of all time, “I Feel the Love” is Giorgio Murode’s heartfelt embrace of electronic music’s emerging and seemingly limitless possibilities. Donna Summer plays the ghost in the machine, blasting high and achieving a kind of cyborg bliss. (Listen on YouTube)
13. Beyoncé: “Summer Rise”
It’s a risky business, referencing the iconic “I Feel Love” as blatantly as Beyoncé does here. But over the course of four-and-a-half minutes of telecast and flying air, she effectively makes the argument that the quote from Summer is Just A way to end an album like “Renaissance”. It is the inevitable end result – the pyrotechnic finale of this dazzling tour through dance music past, present and future. (Listen on YouTube)
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A list of Beyoncé’s Renaissance “References” tracks
Track 1: Adonis, “No Way Back”
Track 2: Beyoncé, “Cozy”
Track 3: Chic, “Good Times”
Track 4: Beyoncé, “Cuff It”
Track 5: Robin S., “Show Me Love”
Track 6: Big Freedia: “Explode”
Track 7: Beyoncé, “Break My Soul”
Track 8: Reese / Kevin Saunderson, “Just Want Another Chance”
Track 9: Beyoncé, “America’s Got a Problem”
Track 10: AG Cook, “Beautiful”
Track 11: Beyoncé, “All Up in Your Mind”
Track 12: Donna Summer, “I Feel Love”
Track 13: Beyoncé: “Summer Rise”
Speaking of dancefloor anthems that purposely pull from house music history: I dig a lot Troye SivanNew single “Accelerates.” I don’t know if Song of the Summer is something new, or if it really is, but I nonetheless appreciate him doing the running for it.
“Rush” is just one of 11 new songs we recommend this week Playlist. Check out the full selection, featuring tracks by Billie EilishAnd beautiful woods And GlennAnd here.