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“Beyoncé’s ballad, while upbeat and fun, is also empowering, which is exactly what we need in such uncertain times,” says VOX ATL teen staff writer Azaio Udoh.

How Beyoncé’s New Single “Break My Soul” Blends Bounce and House to Inspire Hope and Self Liberation

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Like the floodgates from the music video of her 2016 hit song, “Hold Up,” a rush of energy and emotion is felt in the first few seconds of Beyoncé’s new single “Break my Soul.” The track opens with a sample from New Orleans bounce music legend Big Freedia’s “Explode” where she says, “I’m bout to explode, take off this load,” dramatizing the stressors of the workplace and emphasizing her work ethic. Beyoncé quickly transitions from the upbeat bounce music to a more melodic tune as she introduces her own vocals. “La- Lah La- Lah” she sings, going up and down the scale as she harmonizes with the background vocals. More elements of House Music, a genre of electronic dance music popularized by the African American community and characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat can be heard here.

The first line of the song “You won’t break my soul” is repeated four times to truly emphasize Beyoncé’s message of prioritizing emotional and spiritual health over corporate benefits. 

“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”

In the second verse of “Break My Soul” Beyoncé details what could be considered modern day enslavement to her job. A sentiment many Americans can relate to. Even though Juneteenth is finally a federal holiday, many Black and Brown creators still find themselves with very few options for income and are subject to mistreatment and manipulation from their employers. In Bey’s case, the ever changing music industry as well as the persistent paparazzi have proven a challenge for the illustrious singer, as she found herself ignoring her mental health.

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“I couldn’t even tell which day it was or which city I was in. I would sit there at ceremonies and they would give me an award and I was just thinking about the next performance. My mother was very persistent and she kept saying that I had to take care of my mental health,” NME reports.

“Release ya anger
Release ya mind
Release ya job
Release the time
Release ya trade
Release the stress
Release the love
Forget the rest”

This powerful mantra is sung in the background by Freedia as Beyoncé harmonizes on the forefront. It reminds us that we cannot allow ourselves to be held captive by corporate America, instead we must “release” the things holding us back and free ourselves.

In true Beyoncé fashion, she refuses to wallow in self pity, and instead finds ways to overcome and achieve.

I’m looking for a new foundation, yeah
And I’m on that new vibration
I’m building my own foundation, yeah”

In this verse, she alludes to her becoming an entrepreneur and setting her own standards. After realizing that she should look within, she decided to focus on raising her “vibrations” and strengthening her self esteem and self worth.

“We go round in circles
Round in circles
Searching for love
We go up and down
Lost and found
Searching for love
looking for something that lives inside me
looking for something that lives inside me
you won’t break my soul”

Similar to her song “Pretty Hurts” from her 2013 self titled album “Beyoncé” where she sang, “Ain’t got no doctor, or pill that can take the pain away/The pain’s inside, and nobody frees you from your body/It’s the soul, it’s the soul that needs surgery/It’s my soul that needs surgery,” Beyoncé goes back to how important it is to love yourself.  

With the song being released as we officially celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday, we can see this as an important symbol of progress. But, there are so many people who remain enslaved to forces that are not always visible. Slaves to insecurity and self loathing. Slaves to societal norms and social responsibilities and slaves to jobs that don’t uplift and fulfill them.

Beyoncé’s ballad, while upbeat and fun, is also empowering, which is exactly what we need in such uncertain times. I can’t wait to see what awaits us as we watch Beyoncé evolve as an artist. The album, appropriately titled “Renaissance”, truly embodies the metamorphosis Beyoncé is experiencing. As we sit on the edge of our seats, eagerly awaiting more singles, we must heed her advice and truly love ourselves for who we are, not what we can do for others. The queen is coming. You better Bee ready.

Your local beekeeper,

Azaio Udoh

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