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July 2, 2022

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Beyoncé returns with ‘Break My Soul’

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“I’m on that new vibration,” Beyoncé sings in her new single “Break My Soul,” and indeed she is: The first taste from the pop superstar’s highly anticipated “Renaissance” album is a thumping 1990s-style house jam that arrives just days after Drake dropped his similarly club-inspired “Honestly, Nevermind.”

Produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, who helped create Beyoncé’s smash “Single Ladies” — and brandishing a prominent sample of New Orleans bounce veteran Big Freedia urging listeners to “release your mind” — “Break My Soul” finds Beyoncé using her growliest voice to describe a search for liberation from a crushing job (“They work me so damn hard”) and a nerve-jangling pandemic (“You said you outside but you ain’t that outside”) over propulsive drums and a soulful piano lick.

“The queens in the front and the doms in the back,” she sings, connecting this music explicitly to its roots in Black and queer communities, “Ain’t takin’ no flicks but the whole clique snapped.”

“Break My Soul” is Beyoncé’s first single from a solo studio album since “Lemonade” in 2016. The singer has revealed little about “Renaissance,” which is due July 29.

Between albums, Beyoncé headlined Coachella; recorded a duo album with her husband, Jay-Z; composed music for and lent her voice to Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King”; marked Juneteenth with “Black Parade”; and earned an Oscar nomination for her song “Be Alive,” from “King Richard.”

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