It’s time to stop binge-watching Netflix, hit up the group chat, put on those killer platforms you haven’t worn since 2019 and get your ass out of the house. The club is calling — and, with the release of her highly anticipated new single “Break My Soul,” Beyoncé is positioning herself as the patron saint of letting loose and submitting to the beat.
Oozing with the infectious energy of Nineties dance music, “Break My Soul” marks a triumphant return — and exciting genre pivot — for Beyoncé, an artist and visionary unafraid to reinvent her sonic and visual aesthetics with each new album cycle. (Her 2016 magnum opus Lemonade drew praise for its inventive fusion of hip-hop, R&B, blues and indie rock, while 2013’s Beyoncé, famously found the singer flirting with trip hop and experimental pop.) Over a pulsating house beat accentuated by looping piano progressions, Yoncé celebrates the joys of living with reckless abandon (“I just fell in love, and I just quit my job”) and the thrill of returning to a new normal after three years of a stir-crazy existence (“I’ma let down my hair ’cause I lost my mind”). While it’s difficult to not examine the song through COVID-colored glasses, it’s undeniable Beyoncé is acknowledging the shared experiences of the pandemic as she playfully quips “we back outside” before giving a shout-out to the continued importance of wearing a mask. (“In case you forgot how we act outside,” she says.)
Adding weight to the throwback vibes of the track, “Break My Soul” — produced by Beyoncé, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, BlaqNmilD, and Jay-Z — fittingly samples “Explode” by Big Freedia and the 1993 dance pop smash “Show Me Love” by Robin S. (Happy Pride Month, indeed!) Big Freedia’s appearance on the single, her second collaboration with Beyoncé, serves as a powerful complement to the song’s themes of psychological and physical liberation (“Release ya anger, release ya mind/Release ya job, release the time/Release ya trade, release the stress/Release the love, forget the rest.”)
The song is anchored by its anthemic chorus — a hypnotic earworm where Beyoncé repeatedly declares, “You won’t break my soul,” transforming a seemingly banal statement into a powerful mantra of self-determination and resilience. In fact, “Break My Soul” is loaded with inspirational aphorisms: “If you don’t seek it, you won’t see it”; “If you don’t think it, you won’t be it”; “Tryin’ to fake it, never makes it.” It’s easy to dismiss these lines as overly sentimental platitudes. But, as the world slowly navigates the weirdness and the uncertainty of a post-pandemic world, such statements are a welcome reminder of our collective potential to rebuild and reconnect — and who better to welcome us back to the dance floor than Queen Bey herself?
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