Beyoncé – Lemonade
For once, believe the hype.
My heart was broken for the first time recently. It made me anxious; I questioned my actions; I asked what the fuck I did wrong. I overate; I bloated; I lost my singing voice. I withdrew, I screamed, I cried. Some days I was rapturous and ok; some days I fell into a pit so deep I didn’t know light fucking existed. Some days I was paralyzed with fear; some days I was overzealous. I was a goddamn devastated mess, caught in a pit between denial and acceptance; replaying events ad nauseam.
This record conveys that feeling.
Lemonade is an angry album. It relishes in the complicated sensations that accompany heartbreak. Beyoncé, is enraged, and has too much energy for just one genre. The production is top-notch, which is expected. What wasn’t expected – for me at least – was that overwhelming variety. Each of these tracks feels unique, and indulges in a swath of musical stylings. My favorite tracks include the Jack White blues rock jam “Don’t Hurt Yourself”;“6 Inches,” with the monstrous use of the Isaac Hayes classic “Walk on By” as its leading sample; and the Mac-Truck of a song “Freedom.” Each of those songs is distinct and vital, just as the rest of the record. Despite this variety, however, there is a distinct continuity emotionally and sonically which keeps the record tight.
Lemonade is an angry album. It relishes in the complicated sensations that accompany heartbreak.
Further than that though, the exploration of so many genres serves the record’s heartbreak concept: heartbreak is complicated, contradictory, and messy; keeping it together, a straight face, is a fucking task. Making it seem like you’re OK when there is a hurricane of suck internally takes every ounce of energy. Beyoncé stays true to that thematic credo of turning Lemons into Lemonade by using this variety of sounds to explore her hurt. She controls the chaos, but doesn’t play down the fact that it is a fucking storm. I can feel her rage, and I can relate to it; it helps that suck.
For a mid-20s, whiter-than-Wonder-Bread music nerd to appreciate and relate to that sound and sense so vitally is no small thing. I see that heartbreak in the sounds of this record, and it increases the musical accomplishment measurably and only enhances my awe. As someone how has an anathema to hype, I actually agree with the critics and think this album is something special.
If there is any complaint, it is “Formation” which is so far left-field of the rest of the record, sonically and emotionally, that it does not work as a closer. It is so dramatic that it feels like it’s off another record. But when hype is justified, I can forgive it.
Until I make lemonade,
10,000 out of 10,000 Rawckus Kung Fu Throwing Stars