over the weekend, Beyonce hit us hard. most of us didn't even know what was happening. if you're like me, you knew...something was coming. the splash page of my HBOGo app was promoting Bey in cornrows and fur, with the word LEMONADE. what is lemonade? was this going to be another music video? the follow up to FORMATION? what was Bey going to slay us with?
but then it happened. Lemonade is a full-hour music video of her entire new album. a tour de force of female empowerment and emotions. i didn't watch the first airing of it, but then the record dropped on iTunes (fuck you, Jay/Tidal exclusivity). i wanted to wait to buy it the next morning so i could sit at my desk and OBSESS. i LITERALLY HAD DREAMS ABOUT BEYONCE as i slept before buying it. i was THAT excited.
i didn't really know what to expect, honestly. i'd read the reviews obviously. i knew what Bey was singing about. but our only pre-Lemonade hint was Formation. Formation is a powerhouse of (black) female empowerment. i know Formation isn't for me... BUT I STILL LOVE IT AND BLAST IT ALL DAY LONG...walking on campus like...
Formation could not have prepared us for what Lemonade is. Formation is pretty much a closing end note to one of the most emotional albums you will ever hear. Lemonade isn't Beyonce the pop star. it's not Single Ladies Beyonce or wind machine Beyonce. Lemonade is Beyonce as a woman/wife/mother. Lemonade is Bey's emotional journey in forgiving her husband's infidelities.
i read a few articles yesterday that were talking about how "becky with the good hair" might be a reference to slavery, and that this album probably wasn't about her personal life or about Jay at all. that Beyonce doesn't typically talk about her personal life in music, so this dude doubts she'd talk about REAL relationship troubles on her album.
EXCUSE ME. HAVE Y'ALL MET WOMEN BEFORE?
Becky with the good hair is UNDOUBTEDLY A DIRECT REFERENCE to whoever Jay's side hoe was. she isn't talking about slavery, she's talkin' about the HOE THAT JAY WAS F***ING WITH. and every single song is a direct adaptation of her journey through all the emotions of finding that out, being mad as hell, feeling empty, questioning it, coming to terms and finally forgiving and moving forward.
Bey may have been secretive in the past but you can FEEL it in on this record. this is her direct therapy, questioning him....what are you doing my love? screaming at him that she's GON F**K HIS SHIT UP TONIGHT. and after some time, crooning that true love never has to hide, telling him to trade his broken wings for hers, that nothing real can be threatened, and true love breathes salvation back into her. these are all the words of woman who has been hurt but walks through the fire. this record is undoubtedly about her real marriage. words this raw can only come from reality.
and it is her masterpiece. and ours to enjoy.
but as a listener, you kind of go through a strange series of events as you dive in. as you go through the first half of the record...you're suddenly kinda feeling like...i hate men. men are assholes. i don't need no man. and then suddenly i'm looking at my prelim document for my Ph.D and "Don't Hurt Yourself" is playing in my headphones and i'm yelling at my screen WHO THE F*CK DO YOU THINK I AM?...... (like i'm yelling that to my document? what do you do to me Bey?)
then we're on to Daddy Lessons. suddenly you're Louisiana and Bey is giving you the country record you didn't know you needed from her. you didn't even know you liked country music. what is this sorcery? but you kind feel like..is beyonce speaking to me? tough girl is what i had to be. take care of your mother, watch out for your sister. he told me not to cry. you literally feel like putting cowboy boots on and start dancing (please forgive me, i am not from the south and i know very little of the culture. other than NOLA Bounce. that shit is for real).
and then 6-Inch comes on. right after i'm done CALLING BECKY THE F**K OUT. and now it's time for some female empowerment. i'm grinding Monday-Friday, Friday-Sunday. her yamazaki straight from tokyo. you're damn straight, girl.
ok then things get real. Sand Castles is raw and real and Bey is almost in tears. Jay appears here, kissing her ankles. you start feeling like even though you felt like...men are the worst..you can start feeling how you can love them again. now you're just sad. how could Jay do this to her? but you kind of feel Bey understanding here... relationships are two way streets with two people. how will we hurt each other? how can we not? she promised she was done with him, but her promises changed. at this point you kind of feel like... i can work with you here, Ph.D document (or man in my life). we don't have to stay in this sadness forever.
but then Bey hits us with Freedom and Kendrick Lamar. and all i want to do is just go workout and go on a Cayenne pepper cleanse and do squats when i hear this. lord forgive me i've been runnin' runnin' blind in truth. put me on the treadmill Bey, give me freedom. freedom cut me loose! I BREAK CHAINS ALL BY MYSELF.....I'MMA KEEP RUNNIN BECAUSE A WINNER DON'T QUIT ON THEMSELVES. (say this to yourself over over. new mantra).
and then ...All Night. the most beautiful song on the record. redemption. true love breathes salvation back into her. this is probably the most powerful visual part of the album. different couples together, smiling. the good moments, the sweet moments. Jay and Bey kissing over their wedding cake. Blue Ivy in a flower crown, daddy chasing her on the football field. Beyonce pregnant. you feel their life in this. and you are a believer again. Jay can love Bey the right way. They had their ups and downs, she was served lemons, but she made lemonade. she closes the song with "how i've missed you, my love."
and the record closes with Formation. see what i mean? Formation really gave us no hint at what was about to come. but it kind of has new meaning. get in formation, ladies.
so you literally go through this with her. you're feeling her confusion at first? then you RAGE WITH HER. you hate Jay. you feel empty with her, feel like...i don't need no man! and then you start seeing the light. we can work through this Jay, we can. and by the end you are so Jay/Bey again, so hard. like they're royalty they can make it through anything. they're the real deal.
and then you realize omg i just spent an hour pretending i'm Beyonce..time to GET IN FORMATION....and get back to work.