Beyonce just can’t make it easy: Just hours after she’d announced that “Break My Soul,” the first single from her forthcoming seventh solo studio album “Renaissance,” would be dropping tonight at midnight ET / 9 p.m. PT, it emerged on Tidal — yes, the streaming service co-owned by her husband, Jay-Z —three hours early.
All of that noise notwithstanding, it’s the Beyonce jam fans have been waiting for: A driving dance track co-produced by the “Single Ladies” team of Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, with a plinking, insistent hook, a hot beat and a near-unintelligible, dancehall-like voice dropping in and out of the mix.
“Release your anger/ Release your mind/ Release the time… Release the stress/ Forget the rest,” the voice intones.
Brand new Beyonce “Break my soul” early leak?
Yeah, we’re taking House back this Summer. pic.twitter.com/HJGaEroaDK
— DJ R-Tistic (@DJRTistic) June 21, 2022
While some had expected the singer to drop a new song over the weekend or even on Juneteenth — which took place on Sunday and is officially observed as a holiday today — as she did two years ago with her last major single, “Black Parade,” the timing of this one may reflect a song that has no relation to the holiday.
Beyonce announced early Thursday that the long-expected album will be arriving on July 29. Sources tell Variety that the album will feature both dance and country-leaning tracks, the source says, with contributions from hit songwriter Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote her 2008 hit “Halo” as well as hits for Adele, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Bros. and his own group, OneRepublic. Also said to be involved is Raphael Saadiq, who has crafted hits for Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Andra Day as well as his own excellent solo albums, and executive-produced “A Seat at the Table,” Beyoncé’s sister Solange’s widely praised 2016 album.
It was unclear whether the country songs will appear as a separate album, or as part of the first edition of “Renaissance.” Country is not new terrain for the singer: “Daddy Lessons,” from 2016’s “Lemonade,” is heavy on twang and was even covered by the Chicks (then known as the Dixie Chicks).
Fans have already sleuthed information suggesting that the album will contain 16 tracks, and the fact that it is a multi-part release is clear from the face that it is billed as “Act 1.” Beyoncé’s website also featured pre-orders on four different boxed sets for the album, billed “Pose” 1-4 and including a CD, T-shirt and a box. However, since they all ship on the day of the album’s release, it seems likely that they’re just different packages for “Act 1.”
The singer sounded the alarm that something was coming earlier this month, when she wiped her social media accounts, which, as evidence by the lack of profile pictures, still have not been fully repopulated.
Beyoncé actually has released four albums since her blockbuster 2016 outing “Lemonade,” although none of them are full Beyoncé solo albums: In 2018, she dropped “Everything Is Love,” a tag-team with husband Jay-Z under the name The Carters; in April of 2019, she released “Homecoming,” an album of her galvanizing 2018 headlining performance at Coachella, for which she was accompanied by a full marching band (which was also released as a Netflix special as part of a $60 million deal ; and that summer she followed with “The Lion King: The Gift,” a companion album to the Disney film that featured several new songs from her — featuring contributions from Kendrick Lamar, Donald Glover and others — as well as songs featuring 070 Shake, Tierra Whack and African artists like Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Tiwa Savage and others; a deluxe edition of that album featuring three additional tracks was released a year later.