I say this with no hint of irony – Beyoncé is underrated.
The artist has just released an appetiser for her upcoming seventh album, Renaissance.
Break My Soul has already been hailed as an anti-work anthem by a burnt-out generation of millennials.
“I just quit my job” she sings, “I’m gonna find a new drive, damn they work me so damn hard. Work by nine, then off past five.”
Released on a day of rail strikes up and down the UK, it resonates.
It also reminds me of a lesser known Beyoncé track from her self-titled fifth album, Ghost.
"People on the planet, working nine to five just to stay alive,” she mutters in the 2013 song. "Soul not for sale. Probably won't make no money off this, oh well.”
It is certainly easier for a multi-millionaire not to worry about whether a track will make money. But it would be even easier for her to drop an album full of catchy, vapid songs and sit back while her money piled up.
She could have just delivered an ordinary performance at Coachella and collected her cheque. But instead, attendees witnessed the perfectly choreographed, painstakingly timed show that became Netflix’s Homecoming.
Lemonade was a ground-breaking work of audio-visual art, combining Warsan Shire’s spoken word poetry with themes of adultery, rage, Black womanhood and forgiveness. It was a revelation, sounding like nothing else on the radio, but it didn’t even win the Grammy for best album that year.
Next came The Gift and visual album Black Is King, which accompanied Disney’s “live action” Lion King remake and featured artists from across Africa. This album is overlooked, but it is one of her greatest pieces of work.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020, on Juneteenth Beyoncé released Black Parade, a single about Black pride celebrating Black culture.
With every new release her body of work elevates, builds and transforms into something new.
No mainstream artist is doing it like Beyoncé. No one even comes close.
And the best thing about her is I don’t think she’s even released her best music yet.