If you thought your Thursday morning was off to a productive start, think again. Nine years after the Beyoncé album drop that literally broke the internet — self-titled, we speak your name — Queen Bey has our timelines in a fever pitch once again with the announcement of her long-awaited seventh studio album. And from the uncharacteristic advance warning and details she’s sharing about this project, it looks like it’s going to be a big one. Prepare yourself.
A tweet from popular Beyoncé social media fanpage @BeyLegion — which many Beyhive conspiracy theories believe to be run by Bey’s own team — announced in the dead of night that a new project was finally on the way. The album, simply titled Renaissance, will release on July 29, and the cryptic press image shared with the announcement notes that this album is just part one of what Beyoncé has been working on during her latest music hiatus. @BeyLegion later shared a screenshot of the tracklist, which includes 16 songs of which only four are non-explicit, so you know what type of time Beyoncé is on. The official Beyoncé website also dropped a link to some mysterious Renaissance merchandise, four different collectible boxes that include a T-shirt, a 28-page photo booklet, a collectible mini poster, and a CD. (Did I, a person just who went on a tangent about the rising cost of gas mere hours ago, buy box number four without so much as a second thought? Yes. Yes, I did.)
The new July cover of British Vogue, shared early Thursday morning, revealed more of the Grammy-winner’s master plan for Renaissance. In the cover story, the writer (British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful) reveals that his exclusive early listen to Beyoncé’s new album “transported [him] back to the clubs of [his] youth” and that it will “unite so many on the dance floor.” While this isn’t all that revealing — it pretty much sums up all of Bey’s discography — the stunning photoshoot that accompanies the article does provide some clues. Equal parts elegant and outrageous, Beyoncé makes a statement in each lockscreen-worthy photo: sitting proud and tall on a red horse, perfectly perched on a smoking motorcycle, covered head to toe in confetti at the center of a dance floor. The looks, which Enninful described as being inspired by “retro-futurism,” are all hints of a new era of Beyoncé.
We should’ve seen this coming. In her August 2021 Harper’s Bazaar cover story, Beyoncé shared that she’d been in the studio working on new music for almost two years, and that what she was planning on releasing was intended to be a healing balm for the collective trauma the world has lived through as of late.
“With all the isolation and injustice over the past year, I think we are all ready to escape, travel, love, and laugh again,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible.”
So what can we expect from Renaissance? Though past rumors swirled about a possible house album, and the styling of her British Vogue shoot is an eclectic swirl of 1970s disco couture, 80s bubblegum glam, and futuristic fashion, there’s truly no way to be sure of what exactly we’re about to encounter. One thing we can predict? Renaissance is going to be a game-changer. Why else would Beyoncé give our hearts (and wallets) a month’s notice?