Artistically, Beyoncé is in a career renaissance. This is polarizing as those of us who loved her fromher Destiny’s Child days have either kept along with her journey of growth or abandoned the trail. Fortunately, a vast majority have stuck with her and her ever-evolving sound. Sixth solo studio disc Lemonade came as a surprise release less than a week ago and instead of the Music itself being the focus, it is getting more attention for pointing accusations at whom the hypothetical “other woman” is, accounting for some of the anger and aggression dispersed throughout the Disc. This is a good thing though. When Beyoncé speaks, people are listening.
Lemonade (a tribute to her maternal grandmother) despite its sunny name is dark, but if you’ve listened to her past few Discs, this is the direction the Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur has headed in recent years. The edge here however is sharp. The Album isn’t crammed with singles or bangers. It is a mixture of sounds aimed at evoking mood and thought in its listeners. It is about embodying the spirit and voice of the strong, independent American Woman. It very much is about empowerment.
English Singer/Songwriter James Blake has a couple contributions on the Disc and starts things off on a moody note on one of two collaborations, Pray You Catch Me. They duet on Forward (think an edgier take on Rihanna/Mikky Ekko‘s Stay) later in the sequence. The Rock influence in Beyoncé‘s repertoire is apparent on Led Zeppelin-sampling, Jack White dreamchild, Don’t Hurt Yourself and despite appearing a bit odd on paper, completely works. Sorry, which details infidelity in her partner and all the warning signs of it, stirs-up the most controversy to whom “Becky with the good hair is”. Does she really exist or is she metaphorical of the insecurities that women face? Either way it is genius and people are talking.
The Weeknd collaboration 6 Inch is a dark, mysterious anthem to femininity and fierceness, one of the more radio-friendly tracks on the Disc, while Daddy Lessons with its country roots pays homage to Beyoncé‘s southern upbringing and a reminder that not all men are at blame. It takes a man to tell you what kind of man to be warned of, right? The gorgeous Love Drought is placed mid-Disc and a perfect cool-down after an array of emotions expressed earlier.
Hip-Hop’s It Boy Kendrick Lamar gets a plum spot on the ’70s soulful-rock homage, Freedom. First single Formation closes-out the Disc, a perfect transition to take Fans from Beyoncé of an era past to the Beyoncé of now.
Like her fifth self-titled Disc, there is a visual component to this Disc. Check-out the Trailer below:
Certainly a bright spot in an outstanding catalogue from Music’s reigning Queen. Sony Music Entertainment Canada release LEMONADE, now available on iTunes, Amazon, Tidal and in-stores Friday, May 6, 2016.