Beyoncé’s seventh album Renaissance has reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, making her the first female artist to ever have seven albums debut at the top of the chart.
Beyoncé continues to reach milestones with each album release. In 2016, she also became the first female artist to have 12 or more songs on the chart at the same time, when every track off her sixth album, Lemonade, hit the Billboard Hot 100. Throughout her career, Beyoncé has also had seven No. 1 songs on the Billboard 100.
The Grammy Award-winning artist has become the first woman and only the third performer ever, outside of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, to have at least 20 Top 10 songs as a solo artist and at least 10 Top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following her previous chart-toppers, Dangerously in Love in 2003, 4 (2011), and Lemonade in 2016, Renaissance also had the largest streaming week for an album by a woman in 2022 with streams reaching 179.06 million and also marked Beyoncé’s largest streaming week ever.
Released on July 29, Renaissance is called “Act I” of a three-act project that Beyoncé recorded over three years during the pandemic. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” said Beyoncé of the album on her website. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment, a place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking, a place to scream, release, and feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
Soon after its release, the album faced some criticism for a lyric on track “Heated,” which contains the word “Spaz,” a word considered by many as an ableist slur. In response, Beyoncé said she would remove the lyric from the song. R& B singer Kelis then claimed the singer committed an act of “thievery” for using an interpolation of her 2003 hit “Milkshake” on Renaissance track “Energy.” Beyoncé removed the sample from the song soon after.
The first Renaissance single, “Break My Soul,” dropped in June with four remixed versions of the track on a surprise EP, including one version with Madonna and another featuring Honey Dijon and Will.i.am; Dijon also produced Renaissance tracks “Cozy” and “Alien Superstar.” The EP also features contributions from multi-instrumentalist producer Nita Aviance and Chicago house music vet Terry Hunter.
In her online note, the singer thanked her husband Jay Z and children and also dedicated the album to her uncle Jonny.
“He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album,” said Beyoncé. “Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you.”
Photo: Sony Music