When couples face marital trouble, they seek counseling to work on their issues. However, when Beyoncé has marital issues, she makes an entire album about it.
In an album fueled by anger, Beyoncé surprised the world once again with the sudden drop of “Lemonade,” a visual album which she released alongside an HBO special on April 23.
Beyoncé and Jay Z are the most powerful musical couple on the planet, and this album shatters that illusion entirely.
The opening lines of the album set this up from the start. In “Pray You Catch Me,” she sings, “You can taste the dishonesty / it’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier.”
What follows is a powerful, 12-track journey through emotions, where she belts out words of suspicion, anger, confusion, denial, reconciliation and, ultimately, forgiveness.
In “Hold Up” Beyoncé asks, “What’s worse? Being jealous or being crazy?” This song quickly turns into the ultimate feminist anthem, and in the film, Beyoncé is seen in a bright yellow dress smashing a car window with a baseball bat. Things are only just beginning to heat up, however.
“Don’t Hurt Yourself” finds Beyoncé standing her ground with lines such as, “You ain’t married to no average bitch, boy,” before concluding with the piercing threat, “If you try this shit again, you gon’ lose yo wife.”
Arguably one of the best tracks on the record, “Sorry,” truly unleashes Beyoncé’s lyrical genius. The contrast between the upbeat music and her spitfire lyrics of fury show just how fierce she is. Humorously titled, this song is nowhere near an apology but rather an anthem that calls for “middle fingers up / put them hands high / wave it in his face / tell him, boy, bye.”
“Love Drought” marks a shift in Beyoncé’s musical journey as she begins to, albeit still furiously, come to terms with her marital issues, singing, “I don’t care about the lights or the beams / spend my life in the dark for the sake of you and me.”
“Sandcastles” features a piano hymn behind Beyoncé’s powerhouse vocals, reminding us why she became so famous in the first place. This song marks a significant turn in the disposition of the album as she finally begins to accept her husband’s infidelity and move past it. She sings, “I know I promised that I couldn’t stay, baby / Every promise don’t work out that way.”
The album’s title is taken from a speech given by Hattie White, Jay-Z’s grandmother, at her 90th birthday, which is featured at the end of the track “Freedom,” saying, “I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”
The album is without a doubt a lyrical, musical and visual masterpiece. It is the best Beyoncé album yet. While the accompanying video is a masterpiece in its own regard, listeners will easily fall into the trance of Beyoncé’s spiritual journey in “Lemonade.”