Beyonc released her sixth album Lemonade on Saturday night. It was a slightly telegraphed surprise release that was presented as a album her last effort, the 2013 Beyonc it appeared on a digital music service with each song already accompanied by a video, although this time out the packaging rights went to HBO and the streaming music service Tidal (which is owned by Beyonc husband, Jay Z) instead of Apple.
Speculation about when Lemonade would arrive has run rampant for much of 2016, although in retrospect its late April arrival should have been obvious all, the Formation World Tour, which Beyonc announced after her Super Bowl cameo, kicks off in Miami on Wednesday. (She may be one of pop reigning doyennes, but don forget that she a business, man.)
Yet in contrast to 2013 uxorious Beyonc Lemonade is very much about romantic strife; it opens with the lyric can taste the dishonesty and takes off from there, detailing transgressions both major and minor. Appropriately enough, it soars when Beyonc is at her most aggrieved. The scorching Hurt Yourself is a spat out rebuke to someone who has caused Beyonc to turn into dragon breathing fire Jack White acts as Greek chorus, growling you hurt me, you hurt yourself to all potential double crossers. is a self contained battle between light and dark, its fingers up attitude and groaned complaints about a lover late nights leavened by fizzy synths and the occasional trilled lyric.
Beyonc brand of R borrows stylistic flourishes from all over the pop spectrum. Up adds a dancehall lilt and the occasional airhorn to a devotional borrowed from New York art punkers Yeah Yeah Yeahs 2003 and a coda nicked from the blustery MC Soulja Boy My Swag On. Meanwhile, Lessons brings in a horn section and a harmonica for a sweaty barroom jam session about a complex relationship with a father figure. Even the presence of the bummer riding crooner The Weeknd does little to diminish the mood of Lemonade, although it helps that Inch, the album new millennium update to Sheila E. Glamorous Life, is set in the sort of seedy clubs that serve as his milieu.
Lemonade hits its emotional climax with which uses a sample from the Mexican psych rock group Kaleidoscope in order to establish its woozy feel and a 1947 snippet from an unidentified prisoner at the Mississippi State Pentitientiary to telegraph its larger intent; on the chorus, Beyonc pleading for freedom explodes the distinction between the personal and the political ( break chains all by myself/ Won let my freedom rot in hell, she declares), and an incendiary verse by Kendrick Lamar confronts the country still simmering racial tensions.
That song, is capped with a quote from Jay Z grandmother, Hattie White, that gives away the meaning behind the album title: had my ups and downs, she declares, I always find the ebay hermes belt replica
inner strength to cool myself off. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade. The gorgeously languorous song that follows, Night, is similarly redemptive; while Beyonc her voice reserved, sings of caution on the verses, she closes by tenderly saying, I missed you, my love. It not riding off into the sunset, but it at the very least a somewhat happy ending for the 11 new tracks. (The fiery which B premiered right before her February Super Bowl cameo, serves as a sort of end credits sendoff.)
Whether or not Lemonade is based on real life events has been the subject of fevered discussion by forensic Beyonc who are poring over lyrical references, old gossip blog items, and Instagram posts in order to suss out the album real life news pegs. But figuring out whatever blind items Beyonc is laying down (on her husband platform, no less) is hardly essential to enjoying this album. Its songs feel fresh yet instantly familiar, over the top but intimate, with Beyonc clarion voice serving as the fulcrum for her explorations of sound and the self.