Beyoncé unveils "Renaissance", the first of three new projects

Since “Lemonade” (2016), her last solo studio album and accompanying film, Beyoncé has overwhelmed fans with a number of ambitious in-between projects.

In 2018, she performed as one of the headliners of the Coachella festival, where her show honored the tradition of historically black college and university marching bands, and was widely hailed as a triumph — one that “redirected its music, discarding its ties to pop and framing it squarely in a line of Southern black musical traditions,” as New York Times critic Jon Caramanica wrote. The performance was later made into a Netflix special and an album, both titled “Homecoming.”

Also in 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, her husband, released a joint album, “All is love” credited to the Carters. And in June 2020, at the height of nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd, she released a song, “Black Parade”, with lines like “Put your fist up, show black love.”

“Black Parade” won the Grammy Award the following year for Best R&B Performance, one of four prizes that night it took Beyoncé’s career to 28 – more than any other woman. This year, Beyoncé was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Be Alive,” from the movie “King Richard,” a biopic about Venus and Serena Williams’ father.

How the early leak will affect the commercial prospects of “Renaissance” remains unclear. Years ago, the unauthorized release of music in advance could have devastating consequences for an album. But that danger has been mitigated by the move to streaming.

And Beyoncé, like most other artists today, has taken advance orders for physical copies of her album, which will count on the charts as soon as they ship — usually the week of release. On Beyoncé’s site, all four boxes of “Renaissance” and its limited-edition vinyl version are sold out.

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