Reviews by mars
Beyoncé’s “BREAK MY SOUL” review: the first single from Renaissance marks a fiery, yet familiar return to music (7.5/10)
Over the last decade, Beyoncé has redefined what it means to be a pop superstar. What once required consistent press and promotional appearances, lengthy album rollout campaigns, endless late night talk show appearances seemingly unraveled. Beyoncé single-handedly defied all industry norms by surprise releasing her 2013 self-titled visual album - so much so, this act is now known as “pulling a Beyoncé.” She has helped reinvigorate the stagnant music video art form with Beyoncé and its visual follow-up Lemonade, two complete works composed of extreme genre exploration and musical risk. Her 2018 headlining performance at Coachella left a lasting impact: pushing the festival even further into its now-pop home and even permanently adding a runway to the main stage. For an artist this groundbreaking, “Break My Soul” feels comfortingly familiar.
“Break My Soul” is a wondrous return to the dancefloor for Beyoncé. Co-produced by the “Single Ladies” A-Team of Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, “Break My Soul” pays homage to mid 1990s house music with a soaring “Show Me Love” sample and vocal assist from Freddie Ross, a.k.a. Big Freedia (husband Jay-Z, Adam Pigott, and many others co-wrote). Countless artists have sought to create euphoric dance floor anthems as a means of moving past the global pandemic, and there’s a true sense of authenticity coming from Beyoncé. It's impossible to not view the single’s lyrics through a lens examining the last 2+ years in global history, and rightfully so. She sings of radiant release and resilience, promoting a celebratory scream of “we back outside” from clubs across the globe.
At its core, “Break My Soul” is a post-pandemic theme for the masses. Beyoncé references the Great Resignation, falling in love, and lying awake at night because of a 9-5 (how relatable!). Across the single’s nearly five-minute-long runtime, Beyoncé ushers in frenetic freedom; one can almost envision hearing this song from a distance and running toward the source speaker at a rapid pace, all to embrace pure happiness. “I’ma let down my hair ‘cause I lost my mind / Bey is back and I’m sleepin’ real good at night,” Beyoncé proclaims on a lyric destined for a home in the temple of her most quotable lyrics.
On “Break My Soul,” she pivots toward a more generic, mass appeal sound bound for chart success. It’s new genre territory for Queen B, but the dance-inspired sound is all the more familiar for millions of listeners than lead singles like “Run the World (Girls)” or “Formation.” Maybe it's because of the lasting impact of "Show Me Love” on modern dance-pop music. Maybe it’s because Drake just dropped his ‘90s house-infused Honestly, Nevermind days ago, or we’re reaching a new apex of the pandemic-pushing journey of pop returning to its former glory (see the unceasing Future Nostalgia era and Lady Gaga’s Chromatica). “Soul” feels more like pop’s biggest name merging into the HOV lane rather than flying above all, creating the trends that artists spend years subsequently chasing. Regardless, for a world in need of unity and a drive for connection, “Break My Soul” and its boundless message are lovely reintroductions to both societal normalcy and music’s reigning queen.
Stream Beyoncé's "Break My Soul" here:
NY-based, 26-year-old, music-obsessed and loves to write about it.