The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Beyoncé’s ‘Break My Soul’ wants you to move your body

The first single from her forthcoming album, ‘Renaissance,’ is here

Beyoncé, seen here at the 2021 Grammy Awards, will release her new album, “Renaissance” on July 29. On June 20, she released a new single, “Break My Soul.” (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Placeholder while article actions load

In the precious infancy of “Break My Soul,” the new single that Beyoncé released Monday night, consider checking your impulses. Try not to think of this song as a hype morsel, or a discourse starter, or an aesthetic foreshadowing. It’s true, Beyoncé has a blockbuster album, “Renaissance,” due out later this summer, but a song is not a movie trailer, and while this one already feels made for the ages, it’ll never be this new again.

Maybe try not to think about anything at all. Instead, let your body notice every righteous detail: That impeccable house music pulse. That luscious sample from the old Robin S song, “Show Me Love.” Beyoncé’s curlicue la-las that rise over the intro like steam. That incredible refrain — “You won’t break my soul” — sung as if she’s reading her lyrics off slabs of chiseled marble. That gospel choir that appears during the song’s roof-burning finale, so expertly mixed, like they’re singing to us from a parallel dimension, or a memory, or a dream. If you’re not dancing yet, go back to the beginning of this paragraph and try again.

Obviously, dancing and thinking are not mutually exclusive activities. And as citizens of the internet, we’ve learned how to tweet and chew gum at the same time, too. But there will be plenty of time for hyping and discoursing this summer. If you care about music, Beyoncé has already signed a lease somewhere inside your brain that lasts for the rest of your life. Feeling this song with your body for the first time only happens once.

Loading...