Beyonce at the 63rd Grammy Award outside Staples Center.
Robert Gauthier—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Updated: June 30, 2022 3:54 PM EDT | Originally published: June 17, 2022 4:57 PM EDT

Beyoncé has released the cover to her upcoming album Renaissance which is set to come out on July 29. The cover art features the singer with pink lipstick and Y2K-inspired crimped hair, sitting on top of a glowing stallion.

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” she writes in an accompanying Instagram caption, “I hope you find joy in this music.”

The first single “Break My Soul,” had a surprise drop on June 20th and is listed as the sixth track on the album. The dance track samples Robin S’s “Show Me Love” and Big Freedia’s “Explode,” according to Genius. “Now, I just fell in love, and I just quit my job / I’m gonna find new drive, damn, they work me so damn hard / Work by nine, then off past five / And they work my nerves, that’s why I cannot sleep at night,” Beyoncé sings.

Renaissance: Act 1 will mark Beyoncé’s seventh solo studio album and was announced in June after the singer was featured on the July 2022 cover of British Vogue. In an accompanying piece, editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, who got a sneak peek of the project, calls the album her “most ambitious musical project to date.” “[It’s] music that makes you rise, that turns your mind to cultures and subcultures, to our people past and present, music that will unite so many on the dance floor, music that touches your soul,” Enninful writes.

Ahead of the release of Renaissance, here’s everything we know about Beyoncé’s upcoming album.

What has Beyoncé said about her new album?

Before announcing Renaissance, Beyoncé deleted her profile pictures across all her social media platforms. She has since posted about the project on her social media accounts and her website, most recently sharing the cover of the upcoming album with fans and offering a little insight on the process of making it: “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 judgement. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking.”

Why this album is different from prior albums

Beyoncé has previously strayed from traditional music releases, opting instead to surprise drop some of her albums without announcement. In 2013, she released her self-titled album Beyoncé on iTunes with no advanced promotion, sending fans into a frenzy. The move has since been used by other artists like Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and most recently, Drake, who released his latest album Honestly, Nevermind without warning, just hours after Beyoncé’s announcement on Thursday.

Beyoncé’s last full-length album, 2016’s Lemonade, continued the artist’s “surprise release” method, coming out immediately after an HBO special on her life. The album made history, topping the Billboard 200 after its first week.

Beyoncé has been busy since her last album drop

In the six years since Lemonade, Beyoncé has remained booked and busy. In 2017, she gave birth to twins Rumi and Sir. In 2018, she became the first Black woman to headline Coachella, accompanied by Netflix documentary special: Homecoming. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, she released Black is King on Disney+, a visual album from The Lion King: The Gift, that would go on to receive six Grammy nominations. This year alone, she’s received her first Oscar nomination for her song in the film King Richard, released new collections for her athletic clothing brand Ivy Park, and celebrated 14 years of marriage to rapper Jay-Z.

Where to stream Renaissance

Act I of Renaissance is currently available to pre-save on TIDAL, Jay-Z’s music streaming platform.

The album will include 16 tracks and reportedly will include dance and country songs, Variety reports, citing a source familiar with the project.

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Write to Mariah Espada at mariah.espada@time.com.

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