Columbia • 2022

Many are wondering: What happens to listening habits and what happens to music in general when the algorithms control the game? Algorithms, algorithms. Nothing matters. Nothing really matters. What does matter is who does something or programs something and what goal they have in mind in doing so.  The chart-topping algorithm will be one that is aware of the current vibe shared by millions of people, that knows what music is currently in demand and being listened to, that has the socio-cultural upper hand and provides people with exactly the right messages.  Meet Beyoncé. It doesn’t take a learning machine to create completely soulless service art.  A huge brand can do that too. »Renaissance« is the musical embodiment of the strategic derivation of anwering the questions:  What’s on people’s minds?  How do they want to feel? What are the things they identify with?  The album takes the premise of »everyone had a crap time« and counters it with the full mood/buzzword keyboard of one-dimensional lifestyle influencers with, puff, political attitude.  Corona is over, we can finally party again.  Conclusion: Sub-bass, 4/4 beat and of course more international dance rhythms, so much for »you have to signal diversity and origin«.  Then there’s this whole thing with politics and stuff, the viruses, the stupid crises and everything, the only thing that helps is empowerment (»comfortable with my skin; cosy with who I am; I love myself, goddamn«), rebellious acts (»paint the world pussy pink«, »I’m in the mood to fuck something up«) and memes (»the Karens just turned into terrorists«). Beyond that, we must continue to claim our niche, signal ally-ship, go queer or go home.  Kelman Durant, Honey Dijon and Guilty Beatz under mastermind The-Dream did the production here.  Beyoncé TM and her album »Renaissance« depict with ultimate precision the processes of late-ass capitalism, and what’s really cool about it is that you can dance to it.  But irony aside and in all sincerity: Beyoncé has a corrosive, penetrating, affected vocal style that perfectly suits this product, whose trained gestures make any break and hence room for growth in the audience impossible.  What remains of human emotion is the brief twitch when the record button is pressed.