Today is the first day of summer 2022. Because Beyoncé told us. Summer officially started last night when she released the first track, “Break My Soul”, off her upcoming seventh album, Renaissance. Last week we found out Beyoncé is going back to the long roll-out instead of the surprise drop, giving everyone six weeks to properly hydrate, get our rest, save our money, and basically get all our sh-t together before she eats up the whole culture. Now she’s leaning deeper into that by actually dropping a lead single.
But of course, because this is Beyoncé, there are layers and layers to this work – the strategy is always multidimensional. And that applies to the timing too.
Beyoncé isn’t just giving us permission to get into our summer vibes, she’s also giving the 2SLGBTQ+ community a soundtrack song for the weekend. In many major cities across North America, including New York, San Francisco, and Toronto, this is Pride Weekend. People will be getting sweaty to “Break My Soul” for the next few days, and through the entire summer. Bey is coming for that title.
This is what was foretold in her British Vogue cover story released last week when Edward Enninful, after getting a preview of the album, said that:
“Soaring vocals and fierce beats combine and in a split second I’m transported back to the clubs of my youth. I want to get up and start throwing moves. It’s music I love to my core. Music that makes you rise, that turns your mind to cultures and subcultures, to our people past and present, music that will unite so many on the dance floor, music that touches your soul.”
Back to the clubs of my youth – well on that note, speaking of the prophecy, remember that tweet I posted last week? Let me remind you:
Seeing way too many people say this is their first BeyoncÃ© album as an adultâ€¦Renaissance for the old hoes. MOVE pic.twitter.com/n62DIVsXPC— Rossi ðŸª‚ (@RossiSongo) June 16, 2022
LOLOLOL but also… with the sample from Robin S’s “Show Me Love”, it IS for the old hoes who were sneaking into the club with our house moves back in the 90s – Beyoncé is dipping into the nostalgia, and that totally fits with the old school release of both the album and the single, but of course combining it with the energy of the moment, specifically this moment. Because, of course, where Beyoncé is concerned, and always, you can think while you groove.
And the thinking part of the song comes through in her lyrics. First in the Big Freedia sample:
“Release ya anger, release ya mind
Release ya job, release the time
Release ya trade, release the stress
Release the love, forget the rest”
It’s the summer to let it all go, to decompress from the trauma of the last two-plus years. That’s step one. Beyoncé is giving us permission to rest. But these two-plus years have put so much in perspective for so many people, especially where work is concerned, and HOW we work, when we work, and where we work. Businesses are having to reckon with a workforce that no longer wants to do it the old way, that nine-to-five grind that Beyoncé sings about in the first verse.
On that interpretation of the track, B is leading a workplace revolution, encouraging a mental overhaul and deprogramming of archaic work attitudes and practices that is 100% in line with these times. And this coming from the superstar of all superstars known for her work ethic. But then again, she promised this in HOMECOMING, remember? Remember how far she pushed herself to prepare for Beychella? All those rehearsals, the dancing, the planning, the training, and caring for her babies? She said in her film that she would never do it again. “Break My Soul” is a testament to that spirit. And more.
Because you can also apply that energy to the status quo, period. Not just the status quo of work but what that work upholds: institutions and systems that benefit from broken souls and the sacrifice of those who work the longest but get the least. Those are the old foundations that are in decay – and Beyoncé is building a new one by “looking for something that lives inside me” with the goal of, as she sings in the bridge:
“I’m taking my new salvation
And Imma build my own foundation”
A manifesto then, but you can dance to it. And we haven’t even seen the video yet, the choreo, the visuals…
The Beyoncé Dance Revolution has begun.