Break My Soul vs Beyonce’s Previous Lead Singles
The Impact & Success of Beyonce’s Lead Singles as a Solo Artist
In the past, Beyonce has caught her fans by surprise by dropping new music without any warning or promotion which caused her albums Beyonce (2013) and Lemonade (2016) to set social media, news outlets and streaming platforms alight. This strategy from Queen Bey had such an effect on pop culture that any time an artist drops new music it is referred to as “pulling a Beyonce”.
In 2022, Beyonce is seen to have dropped this strategy and announced she will be releasing a new album called ‘Act 1 Renaissance’ in late July 2022 and the name hints that there may be more than one piece to this project. The lead single off of ‘Act 1 Renaissance’ is called ‘Break My Soul’ and was released worldwide on 21st July 2022. ‘Break My Soul’ is a complete sound change for Beyonce as this dance anthem samples the iconic ‘Show Me Love’ by Robyn S. It is sure to fill dance floors and be the next viral sound on TikTok. Check it out for yourself below:
How does ‘Break My Soul’ compare to Beyonce’s previous lead singles?
Crazy in Love (Dangerously in Love)
Prior to "Crazy in Love", the world was already familiar with Beyonce Knowles due to her success in iconic girl group - Destiny’s Child. Despite Beyonce’s undeniable talent, no one could have predicted the impact that "Crazy in Love" went on to have in music and pop culture from the moment it was released in 2002 or for it to go on and still remain a timeless pop anthem 20 years later. Beyonce’s first ever solo lead single hit #1 in the USA, UK, Ireland and several other regions while it was voted VHI’s Greatest Song of the 2000’s decade. The song also landed Beyonce a number of Grammy Awards in 2004 including ‘Best R&B song’ and ‘Best Rap/Sung Collaboration’ while the latter was an award she shared with her now husband Jay-Z.
Deja Vu (B’Day)
Similar to "Crazy in Love", Beyonce decided to lead her second album with a high tempo single featuring Jay-Z. Despite it being another hit for Beyonce, it didn’t manage to top the charts in her native US where it landed in at number 4 but it did hit top spot in the UK while coming in at number 3 in Ireland. The single did earn Beyonce 3 nominations at the 2007 Grammys while it was recognised as the best song of 2006 at the MOBO awards in the UK. Deja Vu was a hit amongst loyal Beyonce fans thanks to its throwback sound which was heavily influenced by funk and soul genres.
If I Were a Boy and Single Ladies (I Am Sasha Fierce)
In 2008, Beyonce pulled an unusual move by releasing two lead singles to prepare her fans for her third solo studio album ‘I Am Sasha Fierce’. The hitmaker offered her followers a double album with one disc of the album including ballads such as "If I Were a Boy" while the Sasha Fierce disc offered the Beyonce - esque type anthems her fans and listeners live for such as "Single Ladies". The two lead singles couldn’t be more different in sound but also their music videos went on to become iconic for very different reasons. The "If I Were A Boy" music video sees Beyonce putting her acting skills to good use to act out scenes of a distrusting relationship where she switches the role with a male character.
Meanwhile the "Single Ladies" music video has been recognised as one of the greatest pieces of choreography in pop music. In fact, the video was so iconic that it inspired Kanye West to interrupt the 2009 MTV Music Awards to protest Taylor Swift’s win over Beyonce (to Beyonce’s embarrassment).
Despite the change in strategy from Beyonce, both lead singles were massively successful as "If I Were A Boy" charted in a top 3 position in most territories while Single Ladies was another #1 hit in the US for Queen Bey.
I Am Sasha Fierce sold around 8 million copies worldwide and earned Beyonce 7 Grammy Award nominations where she won 6 Grammys which is the most won by a female artist in one night.
Run the World (4)
Not many would have thought it would be possible for Beyonce to create another strong independent powerful woman anthem on par with ‘Single Ladies’ and then she dropped ‘Run the World’ in 2011. "Run the World" was not an instant hit like "Single Ladies" possibly because of its slightly unexpected electropop sound and it landed at a disappointing position of 29 in the US while was in the top 20 in the UK and Ireland. Despite that, the female empowerment track has since earned its place as an iconic Beyonce track and is still regularly heard within pop culture whether it be on radio, film, tv and included as an essential track in every ‘girl power’ playlist on music streaming platforms. Similarly to "Single Ladies", "Run the World" was praised for its choreography and earned ‘Best Choreography’ title at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
XO and Drunk in Love (Beyonce)
In 2013, Beyonce caught the whole world by surprise and really tested the strength of her brand as she unexpectedly dropped a whole album with no warning. The self titled album ‘Beyonce’ proved to be a massive instant hit as Beyonce quickly dominated the charts and social media trends for weeks as well as selling over 800,000 copies in its first 3 days. It was also iTunes' fastest selling album ever at the time. Beyonce took inspiration from the success of "I Am Sasha Fierce" and decided to have two lead singles which offered two different sounds.
"XO" was a mid-tempo pop/R'n'B single from Beyonce which showed her softer side. The single wasn’t an instant hit as it landed in at number 45 in the US singles chart while it was a mixed bag of results across other regions.
Beyonce never disappoints though and she backed up XO by also releasing ‘Drunk in Love’ which was a more familiar anthem-like sound from Queen Bey. "Drunk in Love" was heavily influenced by trap beats and also offered a heavy bass sound. The lead single was an instant hit and hit the #2 spot in the US and reached the top 10 in most other regions. "Drunk in Love" also won ‘Best R&B Song’ and ‘Best R&B Performance’ at the 57th Grammy Awards.
For the second time, Beyonce landed a surprise album and this time it was ‘Lemonade’ which was suddenly released in 2016. The iconic album was also accompanied by a 65 minute visual album on HBO while Lemonade grabbed many headlines as it became clear the album was inspired by Jay-Z’s past infidelity. Lemonading is exactly what Beyonce did as she took one of her most painful life experiences and managed to turn it into her most acclaimed album so far including landing itself in position 32 in Rolling Stones 500 Best Albums of All Time.
Beyonce’s lead single from Lemonade was ‘Formation’ which was an R&B track with trap and bounce influences. Despite the fact that an R&B sound is not an unusual sound for Bey, she did surprise listeners by how political the song lyrics and music video are for Formation as she uses this song to celebrate her culture, identity and success as a Black woman from the US South. The song has since been used in political protests and marches for Black Lives Matter and Women’s March in recent years. "Formation" debuted at number 10 in the US single charts and won Best Music Video at the Grammy Awards in 2017.
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