Review: Beyoncé’s “Renaissance”

Beyoncés new album “Renaissance” is out now everywhere!

Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance is a triumphant tour de force- just the kind of electrifying jumpstart that Pop and R&B needed this year. Now I know what you’re thinking: this has literally been out for nearly two months. And yes, you’d be correct in saying so- but it would simply be a disservice to this masterful work of art to just give it a standard review.

This record is a dance floor album- with the track list seamlessly arranged to feel like a DJ set in the greatest club on the planet. Celebrating both the Black and Queer communities who helmed the disco and house music movements, Beyoncé’s successfully crafted a work of art that feels like healing. Now let’s break down some of the best moments!

“I’m That Girl” by Beyoncé

In true Beyoncé fashion, the album begins on an empowering moment with tracks “I’m That Girl” and “Cozy”, setting the tone perfectly for what is to come. Ms. Sasha Fierce has built her entire career around a discography meant to exude confidence, so there really isn’t anything astoundingly different here- yet these opening tracks still hit just as hard. The production choices and melodies are unlike anything Queen Bey has ever released and are instantly memorable in an album full of standout tracks. “Cozy” specifically is the kind of track you instantly wish you knew every word to so you can blast it and sing along in the car. It’s that good.

“Cozy” by Beyoncé

In my eyes (and thankfully in my ears too) the album would be all that much lesser if not for “Alien Superstar” which is definitely a candidate for song of the year for me. It’s futuristic, while keeping one eye on the past- inherently euphoric and transportive into a galaxy all her own. Somehow fierce, sexy, confident and feminine- the song represents the multitudes of Beyoncé. “I’m too classy for this world, forever I’m that girl, Feed you diamonds and pearls, ooh baby, I’m too classy to be touched, I paid them all in dust, I’m stingy with my love,” she interpolates Right Said Fred’s song “I’m Too Sexy” in the chorus- still somehow making it her own and unlike any music being released today.

“Alien Superstar” by Beyoncé

Now there’s a reason why people are absolutely devouring “Cuff It” online, crafting their own choreography which simply insights joy upon every watch and listen. The song feels so classic, like an older track I would’ve heard my parents reminiscing about during my childhood. And that’s not to say it’s outdated, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The chorus is infectious, making you feel invincible like only a night out with your best friends can do. “Bet you you’ll see far, Bet you you’ll see stars, Bet you you’ll elevate, Bet you you’ll meet God, ‘Cause I feel like fallin’ in love,” the post chorus is the true standout here- both addictive and vocally powerful. It’s peak Beyoncé.

“Cuff It” by Beyoncé

Now we can’t talk about this album without addressing the lead single- “Break My Soul”. Admittedly, it was not my favorite on the first listen. I found it a bit abrasive and not quite the comeback single I’d hoped for. I will however say that it is very much a grower as it has gotten better with every single listen- both empowering and joyous as the production continues to build until the end where a choir accompanies Beyoncé on a gorgeous pulled back note. I’m very happy to report that I was quite wrong about this track and while it still isn’t my favorite on the record, I do think it was the perfect lead single to bring us all back into the BCU (Beyoncé Cinematic Universe).

“Break My Soul” by Beyoncé

“Plastic Off The Sofa” is vocal heaven- sonically ethereal and another timeless track that could’ve been released in the 1970’s (but thankfully we get to be the ones to discover it today). Her vocal delivery is light and airy here, with every single one of her choices placed perfectly. If this song had been somehow placed in the wrong hands, it could’ve gone oh so wrong. A lesser singer might have overdone the runs and made it tasteless with senseless vocal acrobatics- in case you need an example of this, I highly recommend checking out the “Plastic Off The Sofa Challenge” which has gone viral on TikTok. But when you listen to Beyoncé sing her absolute ass off here, you just completely understand why she is exactly where she is today. Being the only drastic change of pace on this dance heavy album, it’s a true standout and is reminiscent of Beyoncé’s early solo work.

“Plastic Off The Sofa” by Beyoncé

Now I could sit here and talk about this album until I’m blue in the face, or rather until Act II comes out, but I highly recommend that you simply check it out for yourself. Any review or remarks from me will just fail to capture the magic of it all- so do yourself a favor and whether you’re out on a drive, cleaning around the house, or relaxing on your couch- blast this album as loud as you possibly can.

Beyoncé succeeds in every aspect with Renaissance, the first Act of her new trilogy, an album that grants its listeners an ounce of the confidence and empowerment that Beyoncé exudes. It’s just enough to keep us going, giving us exactly what we need in order to move on from what isn’t working in our lives and go on to not only live a better life, but to thrive.

Renaissance isn’t just an album, it’s an experience. It’s an hour-long dance party with your best friends, the much-needed night out after a difficult week, the escape we can all use from the ugliness in this world. And we have THE Beyoncé to thank for that.

Renaissance is out now on all platforms!

Review: Sabrina Carpenter’s “emails i can’t send”

Sabrina Carpenter’s new album “emails i can’t send” is out everywhere now!

Sabrina Carpenter has masterfully crafted a deeply personal and heartbreakingly intimate, yet perfectly fun summer album with her latest album emails i can’t send. Her first full length release since 2019’s Singular: Act II, this album is her strongest and most cohesive by far- showcasing her witty songwriting and utilizing her vocals better than I’ve heard from previous projects.

As I’ve now listened to the album quite a few times through, I can’t help but feel like in a way, this is Sabrina’s equivalent to Taylor Swift’s masterful album Reputation. Following a year of media scrutiny and the publicization of her personal life, one can only imagine the kind of backlash she faced and instead of letting it tarnish her career- she owns it with confidence and takes the time to tell her side of the situation and does so quite beautifully.

The track that will most likely get the most social media buzz “because i liked a boy”, addresses the perceptions and harsh assumptions that Carpenter faced when the public decided to villainize her when dragged against her will into a very public love triangle. “Now I’m a homewrecker, I’m a slut. I got death threats filling up semitrucks, tell me who I am, guess I don’t have a choice, all because I liked a boy,” she sings on the chorus, owning into the perceptions people made about a relationship they frankly knew nothing about. Throughout the song, she compares the innocence of their relationship against the cruel and sometimes brutal noise surrounding them. It’s sad that in 2022, a situation can still be so sensationalized to the point that one woman has to be torn down in order to support another- and frankly the true villains are the ones who made Sabrina write this song in the first place.

Directed by Amber Park

The album’s title track and introduction “emails i can’t send” adds another layer to understanding what Sabrina has faced- detailing her own fathers’ infidelity and her inability to look at him the same. The stripped down, gorgeous piano led track is tragic in its lyrics while explaining how her father’s affair has impacted her own ability to trust in her relationships- which frankly makes the public calling her a “homewrecker” that much more heartbreaking. “When I’m forty-five, someone calls me their wife, and he fucks our lives in one selfish night, don’t think I’ll find forgiveness as fast as mom did, and God, I love you, but you’re such a dipshit,” she sings in a stream of consciousness like style. Describing the track on her Instagram, Carpenter says that this is “The song that inspired the record. Someone I looked up to let me down and it changed the way I love and receive love.”

“emails i can’t send” by Sabrina Carpenter

Another album standout is “Tornado Warnings”, a very tongue in cheek and fun track about making a habit of ignoring someone’s red flags and choosing to see the best in them. “I drive you home, you drive me crazy, but that’s not gonna stop me, I call you out, you call me ‘baby’, but that’s not gonna stop me,” she sings on the bridge of the back and forth she feels in their relationship. The extremely catchy chorus is also sure to be having everyone singing “I’m lying to my therapist” all summer long as well right from the first listen.

“Tornado Warnings” by Sabrina Carpenter

Despite covering some heavy topics, Sabrina also balances out the album with some fun as well with tracks like “Nonsense” and “Bet You Wanna” oozing confidence and sensuality. My personal favorite as of right now is “Already Over”, which finds the singer exploring a relationship where her and her partner struggle to break the routine of being lovers when trying to maintain a friendship. The production is a perfect blend of pop and surprisingly country with the kind of knee slapping chorus that leaves you wanting to chant it over and over. “Yeah I Say I’m done, but I’m still confused, how am I supposed to close the door when I still need the closure? And I change my mind, but it’s still on you, how am I supposed to leave you now that you’re already over,” she sings on the chorus of how closure simply isn’t enough when you’re stuck on the moments you once felt happy in. It’s the perfect blend of heartbreaking lyrics and fun pop production that fans are sure to love.

“Already Over” by Sabrina Carpenter

The final song I’d like to discuss in this review is the album’s final track “Decode” which finds Sabrina coming to terms with the fact that certain situations are out of her control- finding in the end that she can try her best to let them go without taking it on herself. “There’s a weight off my shoulders now that I don’t chase you, being myself did that emasculate you? Learning from you that I can walk away too,” her message here feels like a true culmination of the journey that began with the opening track. As the track begins to close and the gorgeous violins continue on, you can practically feel Sabrina’s sigh of relief. It feels like finding her own freedom and inner peace- ending the album on a powerful note.

“Decode” by Sabrina Carpenter

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Sabrina Carpenter has managed to quite efficiently escape the “ex-Disney Star” phase of her career- transitioning seamlessly and quicker than any of her peers before her. This is damn good music and shouldn’t be belittled to headline grabbing hot takes. Sabrina Carpenter has cemented herself as here to stay- a successful singer, songwriter, actress and more. If you can’t see that, you’re simply not paying attention.

There’s more to emails i can’t send then the relationship drama that surrounded it. It’s a story of trauma at a young age and the harmful ways our society still tries to tear women down. But it’s also a story of taking what they try to belittle you with and owning it instead of letting it hold any power over you. And for that, Sabrina Carpenter deserves all of your praise.

emails i can’t send is out now on all streaming platforms!

Review- Amber Mark’s ‘Three Dimensions Deep’

Amber Mark’s brand new album ‘Three Dimensions Deep’ is out now.

Now this is how you craft an era.

The age of streaming has given artists the opportunity to release singles with such ease and velocity that the significance of an album can sometimes fall short. Off the top of my head, only recent releases by Doja Cat, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd have successfully been able to achieve what all artists once strived for. Every single release feels like an event.

But now Amber Mark has done the same.

“Worth It”- Directed by Amber Mark & Cara Stricker

It all began in April of 2021 with the release of the album’s first single “Worth It” which set the tone of all that was to come. Mark says the song is “meant to help you pick yourself up again and remind you just how worthy you are of happiness”.

Three Dimensions Deep takes its listeners on a 17-track journey into the cosmos as Mark searches for answers amongst the universe over impeccably produced R&B and soul influenced beats. The 28-year-old singer finds triumph within the sadness, as she grieves both the loss of a relationship and the life of her mother.

“Every single minute kills me, I know I’m healing,” Mark sings on “Healing Hurts”, her tone an aching rasp. “But healing hurts right now.”

“Competition” – directed by Amber Mark & Cara Stricker

Mark’s visuals are stunning as well, creating an atmosphere to match each single with style and poise. On the video for album standout “Competition”, which Mark codirected herself, every frame is like high level art- from its locations to its choreography. Every movement is purposeful, every shot is evocative.

Atmospheric, confident, and enigmatic- Three Dimensions Deep is a powerfully cohesive debut that never loses sight of its purpose, whether she is tossing men aside or questioning the purpose of humanity. Amber Mark has found her path, passing her wisdom down to us and sending her listeners out into our own cosmos to find our truths.

“Bliss”- Directed by Amber Mark and Satya Zoa Hyllested

Three Dimensions Deep is out now on all streaming platforms!