Lemonade is good, so good that when I was contacted via email by PP to write a review on it, regardless of my ever busy schedule these days (coughs), I had to say yes.
Beyoncé has made the progression from what was a ratchet-laced, sexually-overt eponymous album to what is cohesively and lyrically her most solid effort, and I dare say her magnum opus.
To understand and appreciate the album better, you have to watch each track’s corresponding video and monologue. After all, it is a “Visual” album.
Beyoncé effortlessly and in true artistic form switches from incoherent soliloquy to a video that somehow perfectly conveys and matches each track’s lyrical content.
The album opens with Pray You Catch Me, which at first leaves the listener guessing, wondering what it is about. Is this album any good? It’s a subtle but effective effort to captivate the listener’s attention, and as the song ends, it does just that. I haven’t seen the video of this one, but I imagine it would be something abstract, shot in slow motion.
Hold Up follows next, at first sounding a bit nonsensical, but its undeniably catchy chorus, hook and a simple but addictive beat suggests that this might just be a huge summer hit! If anything, its accompanying video will make anyone give the song several listens. It shows Beyoncé emerging from mammy-water splendour of a dream, with a baseball bat, damaging property, a smile on her face and hair for daaaaysss!
Lyrically, Don’t Hurt Yourself is my favourite. It is not your typical Beyoncé song, and on paper, the pairing with Jack White (Who?) seems odd. But it’s safe to say they both pulled it off. It is the first song that suggests and perhaps confirms cheating allegations from Jay Z’s end.
“… If you try this shit again, you ‘gon lose your wife!” It doesn’t get more obvious than that.
Sorry is the one that had the internet rolling! Who is Becky with the good hair? And at this point, the listener is flabbergasted – firstly, because of the awesomeness of this song, and secondly, because of the shocking allegations of its lyrics. And this suggests more so than ever that Jay Z is a cheater.
Regardless of whatever the lyrics imply, it’s a tactic that has paid off, and one only Beyoncé can pull off.
Its video also features Serena Williams dancing aimlessly while Beyoncé sits and observes in majestic splendour.
6 Inch follows in spitfire fashion; at this point, the listener is convinced that this is indeed a good album. It is a collaborative effort with The Weeknd, with empowering, quasi-feminist lyrics about a successful career woman. HIT!
Daddy Lessons is another lyrical masterpiece, in my opinion, and is served as what seems like an ode to African American culture, with an old school jazzy vibe, laced with intermittent church-like howls and oohs.
Love Drought requires some amount of effort and patience to listen to it before one picks up a liking for the song, and this is much like Rihanna’s Anti album. At first listen, it sounds like a typical urban contemporary song and this is Lemonade‘s one and only filler track.
Sandcastles is the only ballad on the album. Ballads aren’t exactly Bey’s forte but she surprisingly excels in this. Her voice is heavy with conviction and a genuine honesty, the basic recipe needed to pull off a solid ballad.
Forward should really be an intro to the next track Freedom, or should probably have been left out of the album entirely. James Blake does a faux and unconvincing Ray Charles for a solid minute; not a fan.
Freedom comes in next. It sounds like a protest song, or a song accompanying a documentary on the civil rights movement of the 60s. Not one of my favourites but worth a few listens.
To me, All Night is the winner! The song seems and feels triumphant. It is a victory song about love winning above all else and seems like such a fitting way to round up an album. Beyoncé sings about second chances and love prevailing, and a beautiful infusion of trumpets and strings gives this song an ethereal feel.
Formation rounds the album off. After the emotional rollercoaster that was the past couple of tracks, Formation seems strategically placed to just dance it all off.
All in all, Lemonade is a good album. Go and buy it on iTunes. Say no to illegal downloads.
Written by Chizzie