Even though many of us were remembering Prince by watching Purple Rain playing on several stations Saturday night, we made sure to switch over to HBO at 10PM to catch Bey’s stunning “visual album” Lemonade, an extended hour-length music video in which she sang several of her new songs and recited compelling poetry from the Somali-British writer Warsan Shire, all which seemed to chronicle her relationship with music mogul Jay Z, nee Shawn Carter.
With title cards announcing the various stages of her emotional journey, Lemonade begins with denial and betrayal with songs like “Pray You Catch Me,” to full-out, bat-swinging rage in “Hold Up” (which seriously could be this summer’s biggest hit) and her “apathy” towards the boy in “Sorry” (which features a smokin’ hot Serena Williams dancing like a pro) and “Don’t Hurt Yourself (feat. Jack White)” Oh yeah, Queen B is really letting him have it.
Then she begins to soften a bit with her tribute to her father in “Daddy Issues” and shows her willingness to forgive with “Sandcastles,” which features some tender moments with Jay Z, who she calls the “love of her life” throughout the whole production.
Most importantly, however, Lemonade is a strong statement for female empowerment, with songs like “Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar). Bey pays tribute to black women, like Jay Z’s 90-year-old grandmother, Hattie, who gives the album its title when she says, “I was served lemons but I made lemonade.” There are even very sweet family moments with Beyoncé and Jay Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.
Her already released single, “Formation,” closes the music special, as it plays over the credits (since she already made a music video for that).
Did all the songs hit it? Maybe not, but the fact Beyoncé has the cache to put out something as gorgeous, lush, visually arresting, eye-popping and just kick ass as Lemonade is a testament to her superstardom. Long live, Queen Bey!
Lemonade the album is now available for streaming on Tidal here.