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Post: The Margin: Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ is topping Spotify, Apple Music charts and drawing rave reviews

It looks like Queen Bey still rules.

Beyoncé is garnering rave reviews for her album “Renaissance” released on Friday, which is already being hailed as “the most talked-about release of the year.”

In large part, that’s because she’s, well, Beyoncé, the $450 million artist who has already sold more than 100 million recordings. On top of that, she hasn’t released a studio album since 2016’s “Lemonade,” which has left fans pretty thirsty. So it should come as no surprise that “Beyoncé” was trending on Twitter
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for most of the day on Friday, and “Renaissance” and its song titles have been populating U.S. Twitter trends in the run-up to the album’s release.

But “Renaissance” has also already generated some controversy. Kelis, the artist best known for the 2003 single “Milkshake,” faulted Beyoncé for not seeking permission to sample a song of hers that’s featured on the album. And some have noted that “Break My Soul,” the lead single from “Renaissance,” hasn’t exactly received a chart-busting response.  (It’s only No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.)

The rest of the tracklist was generating plenty of buzz on the album’s release date, however. “Renaissance” was at the top of Apple
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Music’s Top Albums Chart on Friday, and several “Renaissance” songs including “I’m That Girl,” “Alien Superstar” and “Cozy” were dominating the Top Songs Chart. And closing track “Summer Renaissance” was No. 1 on the Spotify
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Today’s Top Hits playlist later in the day, as well.

Still, her BeyHive fanbase has been waiting for new music. And a sampling of key reviews suggests that Beyoncé has delivered:

Washington Post: “This is feel-good music in the sense that it’s also feel-everything music. Drawing on the forward-motion pulses of house, disco and more, Beyoncé uses rhythm to push in expansive emotional directions, singing about dignity and desire in high detail. On top of that, amid thick layers of instrumentation and sampling, she’s speaking to the extraordinary breadth of Black American dance music writ large.”

The Guardian: “‘Renaissance,’ for the most part, ventures beyond pastiche into far more eclectic, adventurous territory — a fine soundtrack for a feral summer of chaos and joy. Fast-paced bounce melds with glossy Diana Ross-inspired disco, tinges of soul, sweltering Afrobeats and gqom; swirling trap, swaggering house, Jersey Club, New Jack Swing and even gritty, thumping maximalism (courtesy of PC Music’s AG Cook) on ‘All Up in Your Mind’ — often within the space of one song.

Rolling Stone: “What first strikes you about ‘Renaissance’ are its mellow atmospherics. Even some of the more uptempo cuts here showcase Bey’s mesmeric refrains in a mellifluous, low-key register, which feels noteworthy, seeing that some of her most iconic hits are throaty, melisma-drenched anthems, like 2011’s ‘Love on Top.’ These 16 songs, which dabble in deep house, Afrobeats, and elegant early-Eighties boogie, stand out as playful relics of an analog era in which even the big dance-friendly singles felt as lush and organic as the introspective songs you could zone out to at home on a lazy afternoon.”

Pitchfork: “There’s a playfulness to the way Beyoncé hops across sounds and eras on ‘Renaissance’ that’s bolstered by the album’s light lyrical density. The ripped-from-the-headlines urgency of ‘Lemonade’ has been replaced by paeans of love, connection, and giving your all to the power of the moment.”

Slant: “Beyoncé’s nods to the titans of this realm of dance music aren’t exactly subtle, but they don’t need to be. She’s boisterously putting herself in conversation with figures like the inimitable Grace Jones, whom she ropes in for some guest vocals on ‘Move,’ and Donna Summer, whose ‘I Feel Love’ the singer joyously interpolates on album closer ‘Summer Renaissance.’ Outfitting that disco classic with a gussied-up kick drum and her own humid trills, Beyoncé displaces us from both the past and the present and situates us in her unique ecosystem, where the beats seemingly go on forever as history and future collide.”

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