Beyoncé Lemonade album review

Queen Bey Outdoes Herself with the Beyoncé Lemonade album

With Lemonade, the sixth studio and second visual album from Queen Bey, it is as if Beyoncé wanted to outdo Beyoncé.  After 2013’s surprise release, which took the music world by storm, the singer/songwriter sought to take it up a notch with the Tidal visual album, Lemonade. Here, she moves from commanding and unrestrained defiance to therapeutic rejuvenation across 12 tracks, which bring attention to her seemingly marital issues, subsequent personal healing, and also sheds light on societal problems.  Here’s our look at the Beyoncé Lemonade album.

As of late, Beyoncé has given zero fucks about the subjects she speaks about and this continues to be evident on Lemonade. From the racially tinged “Formation,” released during Black History Month and days before her Super Bowl performance, which caused hysteria and uproar because of its references to America’s historical stains, to the blistering, flippant, twerking wish a nigga would visual, “Sorry,” it seems Bey is done keeping quiet about what she’s experienced in her personal and professional life. The roughly hour long Lemonade film, is divided into poetic chapters, which illuminate the profound mental states that she is moving through. Through narration about the wisdom gained through an excruciating blissless journey, the vacillation of sentiments she expresses bring an immediate intense, personal touch to Lemonade, that Beyoncé’s visuals were not able to capture.

Beyoncé is more mature, wiser, and fiercer in potency, and has the weight of betrayal and rumbling rage on her shoulders.

The opener, “Pray You Catch Me” simmers with metaphors of a woman in misery over dishonesty from her partner. Her vocals are superbly wrapped around an inviting piano driven vibe that on its surface do not match the fiery agitation of the lyrics – but as the track progresses, there is difficulty in shaking the pangs and stabs of emotion. The visual that accompanies the song shows Beyoncé walking in a field for the most part being meditative in a hoodie, and ends with an escape off of a building into water.

The distorted mechanics of “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” return the Houston native to a sound similar to that of “Ring the Alarm” from B’Day and the aggressive, sensual alter ego presented on I Am… Sasha Fierce. The only difference this time is that Beyoncé is more mature, wiser, and fiercer in potency, and has the weight of betrayal and rumbling rage on her shoulders. This is not something that she wears as a badge of honor, however. Instead, through a ferocious delivery accompanied by Jack White, she finds herself moving on from what has happened – essentially, a phoenix rising from the ashes of pain and sadness. The production on the album lightens considerably thereafter.

“Daddy Lessons,” is a smooth blend of jazz, country, panache and one of the best tracks on Lemonade. On “Freedom,” the sound is intriguingly psychedelic, where Beyoncé pushes the envelope of the sound, fans and critics alike have come to perceive from her. She relentlessly howls “I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves,” against a swirling of boastful production, which forces a take notice position in the listener. With black & white cinematography, church clapping, a testimony about making lemonade from life’s lemons, and an elevated verse from Kendrick Lamar, the song like the album is a testament of Beyoncé’s progression as a singer and songwriter.

There is an unnerving, almost bottomless pit of agony quality that the Beyoncé Lemonade album evokes as it is anything but what one would expect from image the sweet beverage conjures. It could be argued that most of the songs on Lemonade won’t get radio nods or even provide the singer with another #1 song on the charts.

The singer leaves the question about whether this entire project is an expressive tabloid about her marriage to Jay-Z and its ills, unanswered. But Bey seems comfortable with this, allowing the visual with its cameos and richness ranging from home movies of her wedding to pictures of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown being held by their mothers, to demarcate the harsh realities of distrust, racism and social status in the 21st century, and how it is empowering, particularly for Black women, to overcome each.


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