The power of Beyoncé is about to change music... again : All Songs Considered Due out this Friday, July 29, Beyoncé's Act I Renaissance has generated a massive wave of anticipation. In this round-table discussion, we breakdown why we're excited, why it matters and what we might expect.

The power of Beyoncé is about to change music... again

The power of Beyoncé is about to change music... again

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Beyoncé's long-awaited seventh solo album, Act I Renaissance, is due out Friday, July 29. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

This is not a drill! Beyoncé is releasing her seventh solo studio album, titled Act I Renaissance, on Friday, July 29. It marks Bey's first solo album in six years, following her momentous visual album Lemonade. "BREAK MY SOUL," the lead single off the forthcoming LP, is doused in dance music influences and samples the 1990 diva house hit "Show Me Love" by Robin S., causing many to speculate that Bey is primed for a musical evolution that will lead us all straight to the sweaty dance floor.

In this special edition of All Songs Considered, Sidney Madden guest-hosts a conversation with Ann Powers of NPR Music and Ayana Contreras of WBEZ Chicago to discuss where Bey has been, where she might be going and what a new album from the superstar means for pop music and beyond.

Contreras, Madden and Powers get into the themes that have remained Bey's North Star throughout her career, the business moves that have changed the music industry and how the last six years might have influenced the artistic vision of Renaissance.

"The thing about the pandemic is that a lot of folks learned that the best laid plans can easily fall to the wayside over things we can't even control," Contreras says. "I wonder if what she's trying to say is that; Understanding that all of the plans that she had for what 2020 was gonna look like ... she just had to scrap it, just like the rest of us. She's longing for connection, just like the rest of us."

Hear the full conversation with the "listen" link at the top of the page.