Beyonce made sure you won’t ever drink lemonade again without feeling an extra sour taste in your mouth with the release of her latest album this weekend.
“Lemonade,” already breaking records and causing a ruckus, revolves around the theme of infidelity. It’s an interesting follow-up to 2013’s “Beyonce,” which was an entire album about wanting to have a copious amount of sex with Jay Z.
And while (of course) someone’s already stepped up and hinted at being the one Jay Z cheated on Bey with, I’m not going to believe a single thing until it comes from the Queen’s mouth herself.
Moving on – personally, this album is everything I didn’t know I wanted from Beyonce; an angry, swearing, empowering and beautifully-produced journey which goes through all the stages of grief, and manages to unapologetically lend a couple African American anthems with “Formation” and “Freedom.”
Bey released the album along with an HBO special, giving her another visual album to play simultaneously, and add another dimension to the story (but, really, you don’t need the special to get the gist).
Songs that stand out and define the album include, well, half the tracks. As with her last, Beyonce didn’t waste a single song. “Hold Up,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” “Sorry” and “Daddy Lessons” lend themselves as this summer’s singles to dance to when you’re mad at your S.O. With lyrics like “Middle fingers up/ Put them hands high/ Wave them in his face/ Tell that boy, ‘Bye,'” “What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you” and “This is your final warning/ You know I give you life/ If you try this shit again/ You’re gonna lose your wife,” the legend doesn’t go easy on the topic. Beyonce growls and demands respect and appreciation throughout the album with the most explicit tracks in her career.
Along with the new amount of cursing, a new genre sneaks into “Lemonade” with “Daddy Lessons” – a country song which preaches taking on the alpha role from a father figure. I highly recommend an objective listen to judge for yourself, but I’m pretty sure she did country a favor with this one. And, of course, Blue Ivy makes her appearance at the end in the cutest way.
With “Freedom” and “Formation,” Beyonce continues the unapologetic demand for black equality, calling out the hypocrisy and injustice toward the black community in recent years, and vowing perseverance with “I break chains all by myself/ Won’t let my freedom rot in hell/ I’mma keep runnin’, cause a winner don’t quit on themself.” The only thing that could possibly improve the track is an appearance from Kendrick Lamar following the release of his ground-breaking album “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Oh, hey, Beyonce made that happen, too. What have you done today?
Overall, sure, the “allegations” thrown by Beyonce where cheating’s concerned are grave, but let’s not overlook the power Queen Bey expresses for not only women, not only African American women, but for the black community in general. As an audience, we’ve watched Beyonce grow as an artist throughout her career, but I think “Lemonade” is a testament to her growth as a person and activist. So, if for no other reason, pay attention to yet another person fighting for change.