Beyoncé Lemonade review: The personal and the powerful
The intensely private singer says more on her new album than she has in her entire career
Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 this year. Photograph: AP Photo/Matt Slocum
Since 2013, when she released her self-titled album, Beyoncé has been more than just a person; she has become a verb. To Beyoncé is to take everyone off guard by releasing a conceptual and game-changing album. Last night, she Beyoncéd us beyond belief by premiering a short film on HBO that doubled as the launch of her sixth album Lemonade.
Opening with Pray You Catch Me, she addresses her husband Jay-Z’s alleged infidelity and on the Jack White collaboration and Led Zeppelin sampling Don’t Lose Yourself, she sings “This is your final warning, if you try this shit again, you lose your wife”. For a woman so notoriously private, she says more here than she has in her entire career; she is not a woman scorned, she is a woman who is stronger because of it.
While the theme of adultery piques our TMZ-driven curiosity into the union of two of the biggest stars in the world, it’s Beyoncé’s exploration of black, Southern and female identity that makes this album important. Freedom, with Kendrick Lamar on hand to lend a verse and paired with its video where we see the mothers of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin holding pictures of their deceased teenagers, sounds and feels like a revolution.
With The Weeknd, James Blake, Diplo, Wynter Gordon, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and even Father John Misty accredited as writers and producers, Lemonade is bursting with different styles and influences. Between the New Orleans brass and country twangs heard on Daddy Lessons and the trip-hop and R&B infusion 6 Inch, it challenges the current landscape of mainstream pop. With the combination of personal and social issues, Beyoncé is using her powerful platform to educate and enlighten. Lemonade is an unusual album and only Beyoncé could serve us something so refreshing.