Lemonade - Beyoncé
By Laura Vale
After a series of agonising teasers, Beyonce has finally dropped Lemonade, her latest visual album - and the world listened. Beyonce may have an avid fan base, but it seems as though Lemonade has been able to grab even more people to fall under her spell. Lemonade is the perfect concept album, exploring adultery and relationships in the most real and true way, discussing the importance of black pride and the Black Lives Matter movement, and also creating some damn good music. This album cannot be done justice by words alone.
The first track of the album, “Pray You Catch Me” is both beautiful, painful and yet so arresting that from the start you recognise the truth that she is projecting in her voice. From the first sharp notes you sense the pain and the depth behind this song. The use of Warsan Shire’s poetry in between songs is so fitting - She is one of the most talented contemporary poets and each line is able to make you take a sharp breath. But the visual side of the album is just as consuming - it is an art piece within itself. Beyonce tackles the darker emotions with “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, which features and is produced by Jack White, though this odd collaboration is actually faultless and delivers.
The following track “Sorry” is just as strong, but is more playful. Beyonce and Serena Williams mooch around a mansion as she stresses ‘I ain’t sorry’. It is the perfect female empowerment anthem and it finishes with a bittersweet end, with Beyonce singing ‘suicide before you see this tear fall down my eyes’ as the reality of the situation slowly sinks back in. The darker edge leaves the song lingering in your mind for a long while after, and caused mass rumour about who “Becky with the good hair” was after it came out. “Sandcastles” is similarly vulnerable, painful and fragile. The ballad removes any facade or nicety from the album and brings back the truth. Beyonce croons and whines and you can feel the hurt that is finally being released - This song has the ability to make you sit and truly think, and can even draw out some of the deepest emotions.
Succinctly followed by “Forward”, featuring James Blake, a new sense of hope or challenge is addressed. The pain subsides and something more substantial now remains: “Freedom” is what remains. The track is bold and powerful. Beyonce belts out calling for freedom as images of young black women flash by. Michael Brown’s mother as well as several other black mothers whose sons have been killed appear and announces this song as an anthem for a revolution - in love, in politics, in race relations. There is the anger and pain from before and yet it is fuelled to create pure strength and resilience making for one of the best from the album.
Lemonade is a bible for adultery as well as a complete celebration of black lives and black beauty. It is relatable, inspirational and real and can create empathy with basically any human listener. Lemonade is one of the best concept albums of all time, delivering from the artistry, the lyricism, the production, the music, and the themes. Beyonce has created her best album yet and it will arguably go down as a historical release in her field.