In case you live under a rock, Beyoncé premiered an hour-long visual project titled Lemonade on HBO last night (April 23), where she released new music by way of a powerful, stylized short film. In those visuals she pulled back each truth and complex account of her personal life using both lyrics and spoken word to tell her story of infidelity, relationships and love. The stunning imagery, the mellifluous music and her fearless message prove that Beyoncé is not only submerging into her art but she continues to reside at the forefront as one of the greatest artist of our generation.
If all that wasn't enough, as the HBO movie was coming to an end she dropped her highly-awaited album, Lemonade on Tidal. After listening to the album in it's entirety, it's safe to say that this project definitely takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. Beyoncé allows you to feel every thought and emotion that she’s experienced throughout the past three years of her life as she lyrically paints vivid images for her fans to connect with. The fact that Bey let us in makes this concept project all the more transparent, granting that she is usually extremely private about both her personal and love life. Beyoncé goes from being susceptible in "Pray You Catch Me" to telling her significant other to "suck on her balls" on her unapologetic track, "Sorry."
Lemonade is brilliant, raw, deep and plausibly Beyoncé's best project to date.
Here, REVOLT delivers a track-by -track review.
1. "Pray You Catch Me”
On the leadoff number Beyoncé is bare, pleading for her significant other to hear her as she vulnerably opens this song with soft vocals singing “You can taste the dishonesty/ It's all over your breath as you pass it off so carefully/ But even that's a test/ Constantly aware of it all/ My lone ear pressed against the walls of your world." She is naked and defenseless as she's supplicating in her singing over the profound sounds of piano chords "prayin'" that her words spark communication between her and the man she loves. Produced by both Beyoncé and Kevin Garrett this song is a mixture of simplicity and pure emotion at its finest.
2. "Hold Up"
Well it looks like "Crazy In Love" Bey is back! Instead this time she's a bit crazier, cockier and completely impenitent about it. How, you ask? Well, with lyrics like, "How did it come down to this?/ Going through your call list/ I don't want to lose my pride, but I'ma fuck me up a bitch," how could she not be? "Hold Up" is Beyoncé’s salacious ode to her husband, Jay Z. In it, she verifies that she loves him physically and emotionally, but also states her intention to figure out where his loyalties lie, even to the extent of losing her sanity. Produced by Ezra Koenig and Diplo, "Hold Up" features samples from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s "Maps" and Soulja Boy’s "Turn My Swag On."
3. "Don’t Hurt Yourself"
She continues the concept of "Hold Up" on the next track, "Don’t Hurt Yourself," when she let's Jay Z know very matter of factly, "You ain't married to no average bitch, boy." Along with Bey's no nonsense lyrics and Jack White's low-tenor vocals, it's the propulsive rhythms and fills of the drums that give this song much of it's energy and power. However, lets not forget her final words on this direct but lively track, "Uh, this is your final warning/ You know I give you life/ If you try this shit again/ You gon' lose your wife." #BARS
As if Beyoncé hadn't already snatched all of my edges and completely boosted my confidence level up about four notches after listening to the first three tracks, she blessed us with "Sorry," an empowering yet sassy break-up song. On this track Bey flaunts her "sorry not sorry" attitude and expresses that her precarious "ex" is the furthest thing from her mind. She makes sure to express how much she regrets their relationship while going through all of the mistakes he's made. But not before letting him know that 'he better call Becky with the good hair." GO OFF BEYONCÉ!
5. "6 Inch"
"6 Inch" is by far my favorite track off of Lemonade. Not only are the lyrics sexy and empowering but it includes a sample from one of the greatest songs of all time, Isaac Hayes’ “Walk On By.” Beyoncé is joined here by The Weeknd, who adds an erotic feel to the track with his euphonious high-tenor vocals. In this song, Beyoncé is using 6 inch heels as a metaphor, allowing the shoes to symbolize both wealth and power. With lyrics such as "she grinds from Monday to Friday/ Works from Friday to Sunday," and "six-inch heels, she walked in the club like nobody's business/ Goddamn, she murdered everybody and I was her witness," it's no secret that she is amplifying that women can stand up and be fierce while also being powerful, independent and professional. It looks like Bey still thinks girls run the world!
6. "Daddy Lessons"
Did Bey give us a country song on this album? Why, yes she did! Starting off with the crisp and brilliant sounds of the trumpet, "Daddy Lessons" gives you a New Orleans jazz feel at first, but that moment is short lived before Beyoncé begins singing "Yee-haw/ Oh, oh, oh/ Texas, Texas (oh, oh, oh) Texas." This track explores the close bond she had with her father as he tries to protect her from men who are "like him" and engage in infidelity. "Cause when trouble comes in town/ And men like me come around/ Oh, my daddy said shoot." I guess if Matthew Knowles don't trust ya… well, you know the rest.
7. "Love Drought"
Caught between wanting to keep the relationship alive and letting it die with dignity, "Love Drought" displays a remarkable depth of emotional maturity. In all of the songs that come before this track Beyoncé is emotionally unavailable towards her husband, while in "Love Drought" we begin to see her vulnerability again. She finally acknowledges that if they stop the fighting and the petty bickering that, together, they could conquer anything. "Ten times out of nine, I know you're lying/ But nine times outta 10 I know you're trying/ So I'm trying to be fair/ And you're trying to be there, and to care." I love that she chose to list this track after "Daddy Lessons." It shows that in order for her to forgive her husband, she had to first forgive her father.
"Sandcastles" is the emotionally-gripping piano ballad that we all were waiting for. Beyoncé sings her heart out on this track to the point where I almost feel like I shouldn't be listening. This song was so personal and so raw that it feels like she's singing to Jay Z and Jay Z only. Once again she brilliantly used "Sandcastles" in a metaphorical sense, where she pensively dissects her unstable relationship. "We built sandcastles, that washed away/ I made you cry when I walked away/ And although I promised that I couldn't stay, baby/ Every promise don't work out that way." That's right Bey! Fight for your man!
A self-explanatory continuation of "Sandcastles," James Blake sings a beautiful verse insinuating that in order for Beyoncé to move on from her unstable relationship, she must move forward. "It's time to listen, it's time to fight/ Forward."
"Freedom" is a African-American anthem meant to empower. Throughout the song Beyoncé draws similarities between the horrific history of slavery among African-Americans and the current state of racism among our world. It's fitting that Kendrick Lamar would be featured on "Freedom," considering that social equality has become a emphatic concept within his music. Symbolically this upbeat banger (produced by Just Blaze) ends with a skit recited by Hattie White that seems to have been the inspiration for the title of this album: "I had my ups and downs, but I always found my inner strength to cool myself off. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade." Drink up, Bey!
11. "All Night"
Produced by Diplo, "All Night" is an upbeat yet laid back number that you can easily vibe out to. It is clear at this point in the album that Beyoncé has finally let go of all of her hurt and pain and is ready to make sweet love to her man all night long. "Our love is stronger than your pride/ Beyond your darkness, I'm your light."
"Formation" is a Black Power anthem where Beyoncé addresses her Blackness, her haters and, oh yeah, the fact that she slays! While most of the lyrics are cocky and bold statements, Bey proudly boasts about loving who she is and where she's from. "Formation" is undeniably loud about it's love of Blackness and loud in its statement to protect it. Every time I hear this song it reminds me that Bey is fresh out of fucks to give and no longer gives a damn about her haters or the system that doesn't love us, and I love every minute of it. "Okay ladies, now let's get in formation, cause I slay."