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Beyoncé‘s album Renaissance is the singer’s highly-anticipated return to the music world, six years after the release of Lemonade. The Renaissance album marks a new sonic direction for Beyoncé — something she alluded to with the album’s cover art.

Beyoncé, who is releasing an album titled 'Renaissance'
Beyoncé during the 2020 BET Awards | BET Awards 2020/Getty Images

Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ album is a rebirth of Beyoncé

Since the release of her sixth studio album Lemonade in 2016, Beyoncé has pursued other musical projects. In 2019, she lent her voice to the live-action Lion King remake and recorded The Lion King: The Gift album, which became the basis for her 2020 visual album Black Is King.

In 2022, Beyoncé returned with “Break My Soul”, the lead single off her seventh studio album, Renaissance. In many ways, the album is a rebirth of Beyoncé in the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) world, complete with a new sound and new sensibility.

“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 in 2021. “I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible.” 

Beyoncé’s homages to Studio 54

The announcement of Renaissance was accompanied by a British Vogue photo shoot. In one photo, Beyoncé was pictured sitting on a horse on what appears to be a dance floor. The album’s cover also features Beyoncé sitting on a horse.

British Vogue described Beyoncé’s new album as a project full of club-ready tracks. With the recurring horse imagery, some have drawn the conclusion that Beyoncé’s album will channel the disco era of the legendary nightclub Studio 54, which became famous in part thanks to a horse.

A week after the nightclub opened in April 1977, Bianca Jagger was at the club celebrating her 32nd birthday at a party thrown by fashion designer Halston. In an iconic image from that night, Jagger was photographed sitting on a white horse in the middle of the dance floor wearing a red dress.

Studio 54 soon became synonymous with horses, and quickly became the go-to discotheque in New York City.


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The disco renaissance of the 2020s

The world of disco has experienced a renaissance of its own in recent years. The influence of the once-ubiquitous genre has bled into pop music, with artists including Dua Lipa and Kylie Minogue releasing successful disco-pop albums. Similarly, house music — which grew in popularity in the ’90s after Studio 54 closed — has been having a moment of its own, with huge artists like Drake recording house albums.

It’s likely, then, that Beyoncé will be dabbling in disco and house on her Renaissance album. “Break My Soul,” for example, samples Robin S.’s iconic ’90s house song “Show Me Love.” Beyoncé’s increased social consciousness in the wake of 2020 will probably be apparent in the album’s material, given disco’s championing of Black and LGBTQ people dating back decades.