Beyoncé: Lemonade

Posted June 17, 2016 by in r&b



4/ 5


Producer: , , , , , , , , ,
Label: ,
Genre: R&B
Producer: Hi-Boy, Diplo, Jack White, Mike Will Made-It, Just Blake, Kevin Garrett, Delicta, Jonathan Coffer, Henry Allen, Ezra Koenig, Derek Dixie
Label: Parkwood, Columbia
Format: Digital download, compact disc, streaming
Time: 45:49
Release Date: 23 April 2016
Spin This: "Daddy Lessons," "Hold Up," "7 Inch," "Formation," "Sorry"


Brilliant and effortless blend of genre exposes a new type of creativity in Beyonce's warchest; "Daddy Issues," if treated properly, could be her finest single since "Single Ladies."


Missing songs that tug at Top 40 magic, but Bey's still in persona creative mode.

Beyoncé does something she’s been needing to do for the longest: drop the signature album for her solo career

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Beyoncé does something she’s been needing to do for the longest: drop the signature album for her solo career

beyonce-03Continuing the regimen of dropping albums unexpectedly overnight, Beyoncé Knowles does so with Lemonade. The title alone is a little of a surprise also, since media outlets reported that Bey’s next album would be named after “Formation,” the single that debuted before millions at Super Bowl halftime show. A companion concept video featuring Knowles in a video paying homage to a Katrina-recovering New Orleans and #BlackLivesMatter politics also spearheaded the single’s campaign. But Beyoncé is a woman of surprise, and with Lemonade, her second visual album to date, she seems to have surprised herself. That’s because her last two albums have been less pop-ready and pretty much lackluster in most places. Certainly “Love on Top” put her in good standing with feelgood R&B and “Drunk in Love” was a definite wild card, but very little from 4 and Beyoncé bore any substance on the larger scale of Billboard Hot 100 traction. And it has everything to do with Beyoncé being more interested in creating enigmatic pieces of art that compliment her mystique rather than championing the Top 40 circus.

This time around, with the twelve-track set of Lemonade, Beyoncé stretches herself with a disc exploring newer streams of musical style and lyrical substance. On “Sorry,” the subject matter digs into the private matters and the more complicated blues of her own marriage with Jay-Z. “Middle finger’s up/I ain’t thinking ‘bout you,” she sings early on, right before she lifts herself up from a heartbreaking betrayal: “Suicide before you see this tear fall down before my eyes/Me and my baby we gonna be alright.” The context of the song may have piqued the interest of Bey’s following, but the Hit-Boy production and otherworldly music is just as entrancing as it dips into eerie synths, low-dub club beats and power plant bangs and clanks.

Instead of completely tracing the sleepy Drake template from her last offering, Bey goes bombastic, going deeper in the musical waters. She finds an inventive reggae-lite swag for the Diplo-produced “Hold Up” and jumps inside a psychedelic vortex powered by Led Zeppelin grooves, Memphis-bred rock and Jack White’s guesting. She drops symphonic soul of Isaac Hayes’s “Walk on By” and hip-hop paranoia on her collaboration with The Weeknd on the dark “6 Inch.” On “Sandcastles,” she squeezes enough bluesy emotion and gospel-tinged melisma into an acoustic piano workout fitting for a John Legend record. The song segues into “Forward,” a short reprise carried by James Blake’s quasi-Sam Smith souling.  But nothing inside Lemonade comes close to beating “Daddy Lessons,” a song that opens with opulent New Orleans big band jazz and slips into a stunning country juke joint rocker. The lyrics and feelgood melodic energy are memorable enough to impress pop fanatics; consider it a modern-day clone of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.”

Clearly, “Formation” will get the bulk of the attention. It does stand out, for its bravado, black pride (“I like my baby hair with baby hair and Afros/I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils”) and foxy lingo (“I got hot sauce in my bag swag,” “I slay”). It’s a better club-ready head banger than “Drunk in Love” was, despite it being draped with a smirk of silliness. But that’s what makes Lemonade so attractive. She’s serious when she wants to be and she’s playful and entertaining when the opportunity arises.

There are a few trippy neo-R&B cuts offered, like “Love Drought” which leaves Beyonce bearing the mask of Jhené Aiko’s neo-R&B, but it’s the meatier, most expansive discoveries – all new to the Beyonce terrain – that steals the show. Who would have thought that Bey was still interested enough to expand her musical tapestry and to do it with this level of mastery? Lemonade, as goofy as the title seems, stands out as probably the best album of her solo career.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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