13 Songs, 1 Hour 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s one moment critical to understanding the emotional and cultural heft of Lemonade—Beyoncé’s genre-obliterating blockbuster sixth album—and it arrives at the end of “Freedom,” a storming empowerment anthem that samples a civil-rights-era prison song and features Kendrick Lamar. An elderly woman’s voice cuts in: "I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up,” she says. “I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”

The speech—made by her husband JAY-Z’s grandmother Hattie White on her 90th birthday in 2015—reportedly inspired the concept behind this radical project, which arrived with an accompanying film as well as words by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire. Both the album and its visual companion are deeply tied to Beyoncé’s identity and narrative (her womanhood, her blackness, her husband’s infidelity) and make for Beyoncé's most outwardly revealing work to date. The details, of course, are what make it so relatable, what make each song sting. Billed upon its release as a tribute to “every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing,” the project is furious, defiant, anguished, vulnerable, experimental, muscular, triumphant, humorous, and brave—a vivid personal statement from the most powerful woman in music, released without warning in a time of public scrutiny and private suffering. It is also astonishingly tough. Through tears, even Beyoncé has to summon her inner Beyoncé, roaring, “I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” This panoramic strength–lyrical, vocal, instrumental, and personal–nudged her public image from mere legend to something closer to real-life superhero.

Every second of Lemonade deserves to be studied and celebrated (the self-punishment in “Sorry,” the politics in “Formation,” the creative enhancements from collaborators like James Blake, Robert Plant, and Karen O), but the song that aims the highest musically may be “Don’t Hurt Yourself”—a Zeppelin-sampling psych-rock duet with Jack White. “This is your final warning,” she says in a moment of unnerving calm. “If you try this shit again/You gon' lose your wife.” In support, White offers a word to the wise: “Love God herself.”

Parental Advisory Explicit Content Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s one moment critical to understanding the emotional and cultural heft of Lemonade—Beyoncé’s genre-obliterating blockbuster sixth album—and it arrives at the end of “Freedom,” a storming empowerment anthem that samples a civil-rights-era prison song and features Kendrick Lamar. An elderly woman’s voice cuts in: "I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up,” she says. “I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”

The speech—made by her husband JAY-Z’s grandmother Hattie White on her 90th birthday in 2015—reportedly inspired the concept behind this radical project, which arrived with an accompanying film as well as words by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire. Both the album and its visual companion are deeply tied to Beyoncé’s identity and narrative (her womanhood, her blackness, her husband’s infidelity) and make for Beyoncé's most outwardly revealing work to date. The details, of course, are what make it so relatable, what make each song sting. Billed upon its release as a tribute to “every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing,” the project is furious, defiant, anguished, vulnerable, experimental, muscular, triumphant, humorous, and brave—a vivid personal statement from the most powerful woman in music, released without warning in a time of public scrutiny and private suffering. It is also astonishingly tough. Through tears, even Beyoncé has to summon her inner Beyoncé, roaring, “I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” This panoramic strength–lyrical, vocal, instrumental, and personal–nudged her public image from mere legend to something closer to real-life superhero.

Every second of Lemonade deserves to be studied and celebrated (the self-punishment in “Sorry,” the politics in “Formation,” the creative enhancements from collaborators like James Blake, Robert Plant, and Karen O), but the song that aims the highest musically may be “Don’t Hurt Yourself”—a Zeppelin-sampling psych-rock duet with Jack White. “This is your final warning,” she says in a moment of unnerving calm. “If you try this shit again/You gon' lose your wife.” In support, White offers a word to the wise: “Love God herself.”

Parental Advisory Explicit Content Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME
13

Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
2.5K Ratings
2.5K Ratings
AVDC97 ,

Person pain reflecting the pain of generations of people.

Arguably the biggest pop star of this age has turned the adage ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ into a bold artistic expression, weaving cinematography, spoken-word poetry, music and fashion into one cohesive work. She has done the seemingly impossible: she has one-upped herself. In so doing, the Queen has created an album movie that explores her personal experience of unfaithful men, both her husband and her father, and, through this, the power and pain coursing through the lives of black women of the past, present and future.

Jay1801 ,

Queen B 🐝🍋🐝🍋

Her best body of work to date! A must buy!

ThatSugarCray ,

PHENOMENAL!

This album is her best yet! Beautiful poetry and honesty is something that's easily lost with mainstream artists but with this album the game has changed. Can't stop listening to it! 🔥🍋🐝

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