When Life Gives You Lemons Make a Hit Album

The Importance on Beyoncé's Latest Album

Sex, Drugs, Wonk & Roll | Jenny Park | April 29, 2016

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This past Saturday, just in time to help get college students through second semester finals, Beyoncé dropped her incredibly powerful and frenzy-inducing album “Lemonade.” Although, in my opinion, Queen B’s music is always nothing short of perfection, this second visual album of hers has caused a particular public uproar. Lemonade tells the story of Beyoncé’s marital problems with rapper Jay-Z and his supposed affair with Rachel Roy (NOT Rachel Ray, although that would give us another reason to hate the Food Network in addition to making us salivate over our TVs).

The journey that is Lemonade starts with the song “Pray You Catch Me.” The opening lyrics, “You can taste the dishonesty”/ It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier,” introduce us to Beyoncé’s hurt slowly, acoustically, and emotionally. 

What follows is a series of stories progressing through Beyoncé’s different struggles. One of the closing songs, “All Night,” concludes how, despite the pain she has gone through, her love trumps everything: “I’ll trade your broken wings for mine/ Our love was stronger than your pride/ Beyond your darkness, I’m your light.”

However, the album is about more than Beyoncé’s relationship with Jay-Z.

It is an album about black feminism, Black Lives Matter, African American southern origin, being a woman in the 21st century, betrayal, family, companionship, forgiveness, acceptance, strength, and so much more.

Beyoncé encompasses an impressive amount into an album, but we would never expect anything less.

Lemonade reflects black culture and national struggles, especially in light of growing police brutality. The full release of the album reflects the “unapologetically black” perspective Beyoncé brings to the table. Earlier this year when Beyoncé released her single “Formation,” SNL created a sketch about how it was “the day Beyoncé turned black,” which, under its humor, reveals some of the prejudices many Beyoncé fans exposed with their negative response to “Formation.”

With the heat that comes with anyone who speaks the word “feminism,” Beyoncé also brings into light her own struggle with white feminists. There is a unique struggle when being a minority is crossed with being a woman (cue 6 Inch: “She worth every dollar/ And she worth every minute”). Beyoncé acknowledges how feminism should not fit into a box; it applies differently to every woman. The fact that Beyoncé is still with her husband despite the rumors of her cheating on him doesn’t make her any less of a feminist– she is still just as strong, independent, and, not to mention, fierce as hell.

This journey through the album leaves listeners with all the feels: heartache, jealousy, love, mourning, and most importantly, hope and resilience. Although the majority of the songs are drastically different than past hits like “Single Ladies” and “Countdown,” this new album reveals a new side of Beyoncé that we’re all about. Beyoncé’s struggles have made her a cultural and political leader, using her music to tell the stories that need to be heard. Regardless, she’s still the same fierce, bad-ass, and irreplaceable queen we fell in love with.