Beyoncé / Lemonade: Review

Nobody executes album drops like Beyoncé, stemming from the surprise release of her self-titled 2013 album many artists have taken to similar stunts so the Queen B upped the ante once more.

With just one weeks notice the singer took to her Instagram to post a short teaser providing minimal information “#LEMONADE 4.23 9PM ET | 6PM PT | HBO”. There was no word as to if this was a special, show, or another documentary, though as some had suspected it was her second visual album.

An inspired move in the music world, now all the fans were experiencing the album in unison, blowing up social media as they reacted throughout, totalling at 2.9 million tweets.

Full Track List:

  1. ‘Pray You Catch Me’
  2. ‘Hold Up’
  3. ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ ft. Jack White
  4. ‘Sorry’
  5. ‘6 Inch’ ft. The Weeknd
  6. ‘Daddy Lessons’
  7. ‘Love Drought’
  8. ‘Sandcastles’
  9. ‘Forward’ ft. James Blake
  10. ‘Freedom’ ft. Kendrick Lamar
  11. ‘All Night’
  12. ‘Formation’

Track-By-Track Review:

Pray You Catch Me

The introductory piece begins hauntingly, showcasing a new direction and new sound for Beyoncé. Her heartbreak is evident through her lyrics and the visuals. The songs is slow with a soft melody, but her message is strong.

Hold Up

Perhaps the cheeriest crazy bitch anthem of all time, she sings of her immediate discovery of her husbands infidelity, and poor treatment of her. Produced by Diplo, the melody is Caribbean-influenced and uplifting. The video see her skipping through a sunny street wielding a baseball bat (ingeniously called ‘Hot Sauce’) as she busts out car windows, and wrecks havoc through the streets showcasing a giant cheery grin.

Don’t Hurt Yourself

The highlight of the album, Beyoncé reaches the anger stage of her grief, and it is spectacular. Channelling her screams from Ring The Alarm, she squares up to the camera warning Jay that if he strays again he will lose her. A true diss track, she is hyped revealing a seldom seen part of her personality that we live for. The production is fresh as the chaotic beat works effortlessly with Bey’s lyrics, resulting in a rock sound. An interlude of Malcolm X highlights the inequality of black women in America.

Sorry

A radio ready hit, the chorus is undeniably catchy. It is here she sounds to be having the most fun, feeling herself and expressing her freedom. Despite a universal message she manages to be both relatable and intensely personal. The video is beautiful all in black and white, with Serena Williams working it as she oozes femininity and sensuality, something she was previously blasted for lacking. Hanging with her girls, she looks to be having a great time partying rather than sitting at home waiting for husband. This also marks the origins of Becky.

6 Inch

As the track starts we are already brought into a deeper tone, with thumping beats and heavy chimes. She sings here about her success and her worth as a person on her own. Despite this she decides she wants her husband back. The song feels sexy and sensual, with an edge of anger. As always The Weeknd is great, elevating the song without taking anything from Beyoncé.

Daddy Lessons

At this point, Beyoncé is just showing off as she moves into country with ease. An ode to her father, she sings about her childhood and the lessons he taught her. She also draws comparison to that of her highly publicised cheating father and her husband. The song despite its lyrics, is simple and joyful.

Love Drought

Slowing down again, Beyoncé shows off her ethereal vocals in this soft track. This is perhaps the weakest offering she showcases but a nice song nonethless, with dreamy production and a stunning video. This chapter marks her change in direction to exploring themes of forgiveness.

Sandcastles

A stripped down ballad, Beyoncé sings rawly over the top of a piano about her marital breakdown. Rebelling against her need for perfection, she lets her voice loose, pain tearing from her vocal chords. She shares some rather exposing lyrics about an argument with her beau as well as their troubles. Matching tone to the song, the video is very simplistic, though she managed to snag a cameo from her husband, proving the pair are very much still a strong unit.

Forward

The shortest song featured is a sombre duet with James Blake, in which he features most prominently. A beautiful track we hope for more on the album. The video is heartbreaking as the mothers of black men killed by police offers sit with photographs of their sons, driving home Beyoncé’s unity with her people.

Freedom

Beginning accapella, Beyoncé commands your attention and just as she has drawn you in a harsh rock beat crashes in before pausing to showcase her vocals once more. A high octane performance, the lyrics are catchy and strong relating to her heritage and her relationship. The video is simple but hypnotic, featuring a ballerina on stage and soft shots of Beyoncé.

All Night

Closing the short film, Beyoncé sings about still being in love with an uplifting, beautiful song. A romantic reunion, she sings softly over a joyful beat cheerily bopping through the melodies.  Bringing resolution to her strife we see her enjoying herself with her husband and their daughter. As a song for the lovers many couples, including her mother, are featured kissing and hugging through the track, including LGBT partners, proving Bey can in fact, do it all.

Formation

Not quite part of the story arc of Beyoncé’s short film, but a part of the album nonetheless, Formation plays over the credits. In it Bey continues the themes of black power, sisterhood and prowess in her relationship. She sings about her dominance in the pairs relationship.

Lemonade Film Review:

From the very beginning it becomes very clear that a core theme of Beyoncé’s new era is the struggles in her relationship that she has hinted to in past tracks. Though rumours of HOV’s infidelity have swirled since the pair first met, it seems that the stories may have some weight as the singer shows no shyness in calling her husband out. Toward the close of the short film, Bey shows forgiveness to her lover as she shares new footage of the pairs wedding, her pregnancy, and home footage of the pair with their daughter Blue Ivy.

Despite stirring controversy following the release of the albums debut single Formation due to its supposed anti-police and pro-Black Panther message, Beyoncé has not shied down from her vision. Using a hefty cast of mainly black women she empowers black ladies, elevating them in each visual despite their low place in society. If theres one thing to take from Lemonade it is black girl magic.

The short film is quite clearly not music videos strung together, but a work of art that flows effortlessly between each track and set up, carrying its aesthetic throughout. A continuation of her Formation single, there is more New Orleans gothic, sisterhood and edgy fashion. The iconic dance breaks are null, as she instead opts for art through stunning direction. Separated by chapters chronically the stages of grief – intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation. The songs takes the listener on a true journey from start to finish. The film increases this as Beyoncé reads relating poetry to connect the dots.

Were sure the Beyhive has the album on repeat as Beyoncé is set to embark on a worldwide stadium tour, which kicks off on Wednesday (April 27).

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