Last night, Beyoncé premiered her second visual album, Lemonade on HBO. The set up on HBO for the release alone was an epic move and another game changing effort from arguably the biggest star in the world. But, just when we thought Beyoncé could not grow any more as an artist she gives us her most introspective and artistic album to date.
There’s no secret that I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. She epitomizes everything I admire – hard working, excellent, beautiful, elegant, tough, entrepreneurial and extremely talented. Personally, I don’t understand how anyone could “hate” on her even if her music is not your cup of tea. For nearly two decades, all Beyoncé has done is given us music that moves our hearts and our bodies all the time being one half of our very own music royal couple.
It is for that latter reason why Lemonade is such a monumental moment for Queen Bey. I don’t think there is any doubt in any of our minds that the album was personal. I certainly don’t think it was missed by Jay-Z. Or, Matthew Knowles. But, it goes beyond her reconciling her personal life through her music (what all true artists do anyway). She accomplishes that core goal with some of the best music she has ever produced and even through all of the haunting stress of infidelity, uncertainty and tribulations she leaves us with hope.
The announcement of Prince’s death devastated the world. It found me questioning my own mortality as I realized the icons of my youth had all gone on to the next realm – Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross and now, Prince. Janet and Madonna, for me, are the only ones that remain. (Sure, Aretha, Barbra, Patti, Stevie, etc are still here but I don’t consider them of my generation). It also left me with a big hole in my artistic heart.
Beyoncé is criticized as much as she is praised for being one note or vapid in her art. With Lemonade, she answers those critics and shows us her heart in its rawest form. Because she can. I don’t think she will win over all of her critics, however, she has solidified her status as a transformative and iconic figure in our pop culture. She is the Queen and there are no challengers to her throne.
Lemonade gave me the hope I needed. It reminded me that there are artists in our presence who are creating things that speak to where we are and will stand the test of time. I don’t know if there is a single radio hit on this album and I don’t care. I don’t think Beyoncé cares either. Instead, the album is full of soul wrenching music that we can all relate to in some form. Art is most authentic when it’s true. Everything about Lemonade rings true. Please fill up my glass.
Lemonade is available exclusively (for now) on Tidal. www.beyonce.tidal.com