Her latest album seeps from the wounds of implied infidelity, yet the soothing tones whisper healing. (Parkwood Entertainment)
Beyoncé surprised everyone, especially Jay-Z, when she dropped a new album on April 23. “Lemonade” is a concept album that covers subjects from love to resistance, delving into her personal life and the lives of everyone listening. This has been one of the biggest albums to drop since Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
Beyoncé does not hold back on this album, getting into gritty detail about how Jay-Z cheated on her. In fact, the very first line is a very blunt statement of how Beyoncé expects his dishonesty.
“You can taste the dishonesty,” Beyoncé sings. “It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier, but even that’s a test.”
What is normally seen as a mutual sign of affection, Beyoncé kisses Jay-Z as a test to see where he’s been, perhaps to see if he can taste any alcohol on his breath. In any case, the breach is trust is immediately addressed and is clearly Beyoncé’s primary focus.
Beyoncé nails all the emotions that come with a break up, from the very sad and regretful “Hold Up,” to the enraged and resentful “Sorry,” (she isn’t sorry), to the triumphant “6 Inch.” Like most break ups, you get over it eventually, and Beyoncé tries to use her newfound energy and perspective to empower others.
In the song “Freedom,” Beyoncé switches the theme of the album to spread awareness for black equal rights. In the video, it shows mothers who have lost their children due to police brutality. This song is Beyoncé’s way of saying we will have freedom, even if blacks have to do it themselves.
As for the real sound of the album, Beyoncé is still based in contemporary R&B and hip hop, but this album still has quite a different sound when compared to her self-titled release in 2013. Instead of having danceable tracks, the production is a lot simpler and stripped down while also utilizing more chamber instruments than she has before, creating a more somber tone.
Unfortunately, this album is not all good. One major bruise on this concept album is that there is no real story. She definitely covers how she feels about everything in great detail, but this album is more of a spectrum of emotion with a common theme and not a concept or a story and the same story with a slightly different perspective can get redundant after 12 songs.
Overall, Beyoncé definitely gave a voice to this year that was yet to be said by such a big artist such as herself. This album is an open introspective journey through Beyoncé’s life and she wants everyone to know what type of person she is without holding anything back.