Photo Credit: Billboard
I’m not shy to admit that I’m no die-hard Beyonce fan. I think she’s talented and I like some of her music, but I’m far from a being a member of the Beyhive. Beyonce recently released her visual album Lemonade and of course just like with every project she releases she pretty much broke the internet! Since I finally got some free time over the weekend I decided to see what all the hype was about.
I listened to the audio album before watching the visual so that I could really grasp the lyrics in the songs. After the first time listening to the album I thought it was decent but nothing extraordinary. After I watched the visual album I will say I appreciated the album a lot more and some of the songs that I initially didn’t care for I ended up enjoying them better the second time around. The album is delivered as a unique short film. My top five songs included: Pray You Catch Me, Hold Up, Sorry, Love Drought, and the song which has finally grown on to me Formation.
“In Pray You Catch Me” Beyonce sings:
You can taste the dishonesty, It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier
Prayin’ to catch you whispering, I’m prayin’ you catch me listening
In “Hold Up” Beyonce still sings about a cheating spouse but does so with more of an angry tone. The song has calypso instrumentals and a poppy Caribbean feel to it. In the video Beyonce walks around the streets in a yellow dress and heels with a bat breaking windows and smashing cars. In the song she repeats the chorus lines:
Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you, Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you
In one line from the song she sings:
I smell your secret, and I’m not too perfect
To ever feel this worthless
How did it come down to this?
Photo Credit: Independent
The song “Sorry” which is probably my favorite song off the album will definitely be the independent woman song of the summer. In the song Beyonce lets her cheating partner know that she is done with the drama and isn’t going to apologize for it. In the video Serena Williams twerks and dances alongside Beyonce. Serena received some backlash for her role in the video but I think the point was to show her embracing her muscular physique which she is often criticized for. The video is fun and shows women enjoying life and having fun without stressing over a man. So many songs and videos portray women crying and depressed over a guy so it was nice to see women putting themselves first for a chance.
In the song Beyonce says:
Sorry, I ain’t sorry, Sorry, I ain’t sorry
Middle fingers up, put them hands high
Wave it in his face, tell him boy bye
At the end of the song Beyonce drops the infamous line:
He only want me when I’m not there, He better call Becky with the good hair
Most fans speculated that she was referring to Rita Ora or Damon Dash’s ex wife Rachel Roy who have both been rumored to have had affairs with Jay Z.
Photo Credit: WowOne
Love Drought” is another good one off the album. The song is about a spouse losing interest in the relationship.
“Ten times out of nine, I know you’re lying, But nine times outta ten, I know you’re trying
Tell me what I did wrong?
Feel like that question has been posed, I’m movin on
The majority of the songs on the album are about betrayal, heartbreak, and infidelity which is why many people speculated that Beyonce was airing her dirty laundry about her husband Jay Z. The album also includes songs like “6 inch” featuring The Weeknd which is about an independent successful woman. Another song “Freedom” which features Kendrick Lamar touches on institutional racism and encourages women empowerment. In the video the mothers of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner make an emotional appearance holding the pictures of their slain sons. There is also the song “Daddy Lessons” which is a song that pays respect to Beyonce’s dad for helping her become the woman she is today.
Photo Credit: Fader
Overall the visual album helps sells the entire project. I give respect when respect is due and Beyonce is a marketing, artistic genius. The short film is broken into different sections which include: intuition, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, and redemption. Beyonce recites poetry in between each section and also adds personal clips of her family and documentary footage. The visual album is beautiful and definitely pays respect to the black woman. It also encourages sisterhood and highlights the diversity of beauty among women of color. Throughout the entire visual there are women dressed in antebellum attire and women uplifting and encouraging each other. The album includes many celebrity appearances including Serena Williams, Zendaya Coleman, Quvenzhan’e Wallis, Amandla Stenberg, and Winnie Harlow.
Photo Credit: Bone Magazine
Photo Credit: Vogue
Photo Credit: Bone Magazine
The last song on the visual album is “Formation”. Initially I did not like the song but just like with the entire album the visual makes you appreciate the song more. In the video Beyonce addresses the Black Lives Matter Movement by sitting on top of a sinking police car which signifies the loss of respect for authority that many people (specifically black people) are starting to develop due to a bias judicial system. The most popular lyrics from the song are:
I like my baby heir, with baby hair and afros
I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
In these two lines Beyonce is letting the world know that she embraces her blackness.
Photo Credit: Slate
Many people were curious to know why Beyonce named the album lemonade and she addresses this question in the album. In the short film a clip is shown of Beyoncé’s grandmother-in-law Hattie giving a speech at her 90th birthday party. In the clip Hattie says: “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”
Lemonade is a very uniquely creative album. Beyonce has been in the music industry for a long time and now she seems to be taking on more of a political/revolutionary approach to her music. Many people have argued that she is not doing enough to support change in the black community but I think she is making a change in her own way the best way she knows how. At 34 years old Beyonce is a musical mogul and she has definitely earned the title Queen B.