On Saturday, Queen Bey stopped the world again when she dropped her visual album, Lemonade, exclusively on HBO. This is the sixth studio album for the superstar.
Lemonade has quickly become a trending topic online and in the news. The film follows Beyoncé as she confronts the issues of infidelity, and also pays a bold tribute to the perseverance of African American women. The film was advertised on HBO as only a special for the cable network, but halfway through the feature, Beyoncé dropped the album by the same name- Lemonade.
The one hour special is full of exposed and surging emotions running through themes of “Denial”, “Anger”, “Accountability”, and “Redemption.”
The album is deeply personal for Beyoncé, but also extremely relatable for other people. It makes Bey seem more human to her fans and allows them to see into her life and her heart. Something that makes this album special and different for the rest, is that this album follows a story line, song by song, that takes the listener on a journey with her through these emotions and feelings. Tidal, which has the exclusive streaming rights for Lemonade, called the album, “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing.” So while Beyoncé is not exactly saying that this is a direct portrayal of her own personal life, she can still relate to other women and their experiences.
The video is visually exquisite. Her surprise self-titled LP released in 2014 was one for the books, but Lemonade, really took the visuals to the next level. Beyoncé debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and became the fastest selling album in the HISTORY of the iTunes Store. This was later beaten when Adel released 25 later in the year; let’s see if Bey can bring the title back home with Lemonade. This will set the bat much higher for music videos to come this year. The scenery of New Orleans was the perfect setting to capture the essence Bey was trying to portray.
Bey got back to her country roots! Queen Bey might be the queen of all divas today, but she won’t forget the country roots she came from. In one of her cover artworks, she poses with her back facing the camera and a Texas state shaped necklace hangs down her spine. Bey always represents and respects where she comes from and relates to people everywhere. The singer really connected with her country background on “Daddy Lessons”, a song about a father who teaches his girl to stand up for herself.
Ugh, can we talk about the special guests?! Bey is always known to collaborate with the best of the best, and it was no different on Lemonade. On her last album, Bey got some help from her usual squad of friends including Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, and Drake. Bey’s got a whole new crew this time around and has recruited some fresh talent to add some new sound to her tracks. In the video for “Sorry”, we see Serena Williams twerkin’ her fine self alongside of Beyoncé. Zendaya and Amandla Stenberg, from the Hunger Games, also made a cameo in the video. Hubby Jay-Z also made a small appearance during the passionate track, “Sandcastles.” Her vocal features on the album include The Weeknd, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, and James Blake. The track, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” was co-written by members of Led Zepplin. Electronic Producer Diplo, also had an influence on the album, co-writing two songs with Bey.
Beyoncé is always looking to improve, expand, and create new music, which is why fans love her so much. She is all inclusive of genres, themes, artists and that is what makes her music go above and beyond the rest.
Why is it called Lemonade? Well, it actually came from Beyoncé’s late grandmother, Agnez Dereon- “I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” OHHHHH, it all makes sense now. Like the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” So clever, Beyoncé. I can see merchandise for this album being hugely popular and successful.
#6 The record is a beautiful celebration of black women in America and across the world. With all of the hostility, anger, and rage American’s are feeling after the treatment of black people by police and the government, Beyoncé is shedding a positive light on the situation. Although, she did get a lot of hate brought on after her SuperBowl performance for supposedly being “anti-police”, but she later clarified that in an interview in Elle’s May Issue, “I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.” She brings hope, and speaks openly about the issues that are going on in our country. The story on the album not only follows the trials and tribulations of Beyonce and her life, but also the life of African-American women in general.
Malcolm X has a famous quote that says, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in American is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” This is sadly still pretty accurate to this day, and Beyoncé is bringing publicity and awareness to this issue. “Freedom” is a track on the record that features rapper Kendrick Lamar who dives into the prevalence of racism in our country today and sparks a desire to fight until things are made right.
Beyoncé is really attempting to change the conversation between women, “It’s not about perfection. It’s about purpose. We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself.”-Beyoncé
Towards the end of the film, the anger and hatred starts to dissipate and Beyoncé heads into a chapter entitled Forgiveness. Videos and images of Jay and Blue Ivy start to show through and family and love become more prominent themes. This part of the film is inspirational and hopeful because it shows happiness through struggle and forgiveness through hard times.
Beyoncé is a true voice for all women and African Americans. She speaks the truth and is blunt and unapologetic about it. People want to be inspired, feel understood, and feel motivated for change- which is exactly what Lemonade brings to the table. This album is already set to be wildly successful and will have a major impact on music this year.
The album is streaming on Jay-Z’s service, Tidal, but if you aren’t a subscriber don’t panic, the album is also available for sale on iTunes for $17.99.
Or, go watch the entire visual album on HBO.
What did you guys think of Lemonade? What is your favorite track?