“Changed the game when that visual dropped”
She did it again. Beyonce had the whole world singing “watermelon” and now has us all chanting Lemonade. Since the April 23 debut of the album, one must ask: are you quenched?
Tackling topics about empowerment, infidelity, womanism, black lives, forgiveness and more, Beyoncé unpacked a mini movie debut on HBO that led to the release of her album, Lemonade. People will be talking about this album all year. Lemonade has been shattering records and receiving praises from critics, even getting the rare 5 star rating from Rolling Stone.
Beyoncé had the biggest week in music units and sales of 2016, selling 653,000 units (485,000 were pure album sales). Billboard reports how all the songs from Lemonade have charted passing Taylor Swift’s and Justin Beiber’s record. The physical copies of the album haven’t even hit stores yet. Lemonade is also the sixth solo album from Beyonce to chart at number one breaking another record of being the first artist to top the list with sixth albums debuting at number #1. Even in its second week plus with the release of Drake’s “Views”, Lemonade is still being sipped on with strong numbers.
So is Lemonade really worth its hype?
Lemonade: The HBO Premiere
Before I can speak about “Lemonade” the album, I have to speak on the visual. Gifting fans with an hour long premiere into the album through a movie, Beyonce told a story through spoken word, visuals and music. The story Lemonade told visually compliments the album and helped convey Bey’s message between her art and her opinions on certain matters. The symbolism and message throughout the short film was marvelous and definitely worth the wait. The excerpt of the Malcolm X commentary regarding the value of the black woman in America was SO important. Having cameos of Serena Williams, Quvenzhané Wallis, Zendaya, Winnie Harlow, Amandla Stenberg, mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner were impactful.
The discussion I would love to have regarding Lemonade the moviewould be too long for me to do now but it’ll happen one of these days. Now, let’s get into formation and talk about the album.
Lemonade: The Album
Beyonce said what she said on this album and held back for no one (not even her husband). From the lyrics to the production, nothing about this album was cookie cutter. Beyonce blended elements from different genres and created her own recipe of a musical refreshment for us to sip. She gave you pop, jazz, R&B, rock and country music. She gave you sugar, spice and everything nice on this project. The lyrics for this album were raw and exposing. The amount of petty and vulnerable lyrics were ridiculous and will have women on Snapchat mouthing the words to it. The delivery of lyrics”Who the fuck do you think I is? You ain’t married to no average bitch, boy!” and”Suck on my balls, I’ve had enough,” are executed in a way that makes it found so fitting for the songs. Then, you’re hit with cutting lines like “Nine times out of ten I’m in my feeling but ten times out of nine I’m only human” that sets you on an emotional rollercoaster.
Lemonade has an interesting taste to it as it’s first sour then settles on a sweet aftertaste and somehow might be the perfect flavor for the summer.
The vocal flexibility and vocal arrangements on Lemonade is crazy. The Queen B demonstrates just how versatile her voice is with tracks Pray You Catch Me, Hold Up, Love Drought and Sorry. I didn’t think Bey could reinvent herself again after her previous self titled album but stepping into other genres like the bluesy country tone of Daddy Lessons and the rock infused Don’t Hurt Yourself featuring Jack White proved me wrong. The Besides the revolutionary hit Formation, Freedom is a song I think is getting overlooked. It is an anthem that could be used for a commercial or movie.
The concept behind the project is one to start conversations. Probably her most emotional album, Lemonade tells a story of love, distrust, infidelity, heartbreak and forgiveness. It’s about pain from love and from the world as a whole. The songs are so personal that you can’t decide if the diva is speaking from experience or fantasy (who is “Becky”?). I prefer the heartbreak/-don-t-need-you portion of the album but as you get to songs Forward, Love Drought and All Night, listeners can’t help but get in their feelings and yearn for closure and reconciliation.
She’s managed to shock the world again and show why it’s important to “always to stay gracious” because the “best revenge is your paper”. The marketing strategy of Lemonade was fantastic and the art spoke for itself. Currently on tour, Beyonce proves once again why she is the queen.