Beyoncé • Lemonade • Parkwood Entertainment • Release Date: 4.23.16
According to underground rapper Atmosphere, when life gives you lemons, you paint that shit gold. That’s sort of what Beyoncé does on her second surprise studio album and sixth overall, Lemonade. No, perhaps life hasn’t given Beyoncé many if any lemons, but she definitely makes the sweetest lemonade one has ever drunk on her latest outing. Arguably, Lemonade is the Queen’s fiercest album yet, and that is saying something after her risqué, sleek Beyoncé from 2013.
For all its critical praise, there were folks who didn’t care for Beyoncé in 2013. While it was considered ‘the album to beat’ for multiple Grammy awards at the 57th Grammy Awards, it clearly underperformed. With her second ‘visual’ album, those who didn’t like Beyoncé likewise may not care for Lemonade, given its explicitness and raw nature at times. For example, Piers Morgan had some criticism about the project, which drew its own share of criticism.
Clearly a target of specific skepticism is the album’s closing track, “Formation,” which was performed at Super Bowl 50, and made Fox News go crazy (no surprise, though). This is where Beyoncé stands from an artistic perspective, now inviting more controversy than merely being “Crazy In Love” or dancing and belting out “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” While opinions will vary, Beyoncé’s newfound fearlessness seems like the natural progression of an artist continuing to evolve.
As far as personal thoughts about Lemonade beyond the noise and sensation it has caused, it is a terrific album. This is not an album for kids, but neither was Beyoncé. If one can’t ‘evolve’ with Beyoncé 2016, then this album will make you turn up your nose and you will write it off. But if you are a multidimensional listener that is open to new things and the assortment of artists that grace this album, then you will fall in love with it and truly appreciate what Beyoncé is doing and where she is going.
A true review of this album if is forthcoming (as of publishing time) on Starpulse, so there’ll be no track-by-track analysis. But there are plenty of intriguing moments, many of which that are unexpected. Some favorites include “Hold Up,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” “Sorry,” “Sandcastles,” “Freedom” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) and of course “Formation.” From this guy’s perspective, Queen Bey has done it again. If nothing else, she’s got us all talking.
Favorites: “Hold Up,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” “Sorry,” “Sandcastles,” “Freedom” and “Formation”