Review: Lemonade |

Keza Nzisabira June 21, 2016
Album: Lemonade
Artist: Beyonce

You tried to change didn’t you? closed your mouth more tried to be softer Prettier less volatile, less awake but even when sleeping you could feel him travelling away from you in his dreams….You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, not everyone knows how to love. - Warsan Shire

Beyonce continues to shock her fans with every album she releases. At a point in time she released an album with no publicity, no warning, and it was in the billboard charts for weeks.It was Her new album lemonade however, seems to stand out the most. There’s something different about it. Maybe because it’s a story told through music, maybe because it’s her most vulnerable album yet, or simply because it has a different vibe to it; one thing is for sure, this album is special. Each song is an emotion, a violent, raw emotion that she felt as she went through her journey. Each emotion comes together to make a story about love, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption. Accompanied with an amazing short movie where one can see her journey through metaphors, it is truly amazing. The emotions she’s portraying are so powerful that the listener gets affected as well.. One can distinctly hear her voice breaking as she sings, showing us her inner hurt, no one is left unscathed by these songs.

The first song pray you catch me is an introduction. She’s sitting in front of a theater curtain, as if she’s about to act out a story. The rhythm is slow, as she hits each note, the anticipation builds up and is finally released in the next song Hold up. This is a song of denial. “Something don’t feel right, cause it ain’t right, especially coming home after midnight” She knows something is not right, yet she will not admit it to herself. Towards the end of the video for this song, she starts smashing cars, as if the truth is settling in. The listening can feel her anger rising in the transition to the next song. Don’t hurt yourself is the angry anthem. one can feel it through the violent beat, and the maddening screams, the listener finally understands that she has been betrayed by her husband. A betrayal of the worst kind, her life is in shambles as she struggles to deal with the painful reality and the emotions it brings. Sorry, the fourth song portrays her apathy. A numbness had settled around her. She feels nothing towards him or their marriage. She insults him unapologetically, but towards the end of the song a different emotion surfaces: Loneliness. 6 inch is the climax of the emotions.

The loneliness she portrays in this song is almost palpable, an eery beat that gives the emotion life, as if it’s breathing down on her. She ends the song with the words “Come back” repeated in a hoarse voice; her brokenness is magnified in those two words. The next song Daddy Lessons is a switch from emotions she felt, to the past. As one continues to listen, it is shown in the song that the past and the present are always intertwined. Beyonce highlights her daddy issues in this song, about having a father who she loved but caused her so much turmoil. Her dad used to warn her about men like Jay Z who are trouble, and he would warn her to shoot them. “My daddy told me about men like you, he said baby girl he’s playing you” It shows how her weariness of men started with her dad. However, this song also shows the loving father. “Came into this world, daddy’s little girl.” It’s a song of confliction with both her dad and her husband. The story of Jay Z’s cheating ends with the song sandcastles as she forgive him. Although this song is slow, it brings feelings of hope and a new beginning. Beyonce also shows her daughter in the video for the first time, as if to show that she’s the hope. Between each song, Beyonce incorporates beautiful poems that hint to what the next song is about.The author of these poems Warsan Shire, a Kenyan born Somali, tailored these poems to this album. She mixes pain, beauty, and a touch of anger to heighten the emotions that beyonce felt.

The song freedom is meant to highlight the black struggle. The lyrics reveal a deep rooted pain, and the beat is loud, a kind of screaming beat, a complaining rhythm. Her voice cries out the lyrics “Freedom, freedom, i can’t move, freedom cut me loose. Freedom, freedom where are you? Cause i need freedom too” As Kendrick Lamar starts rapping the only sound is his voice and the beat of the drum. He emphasizes how black men are being killed in the streets with so much disregard and disrespect. The listener can also hear the emotions in Lamar’s voice as he raps about a life he’s all too familiar with. As the song ends, beyonce switches to the black woman.

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” - Malcolm X The black woman is referenced throughout the album, in the third song Malcolm X’s voiceover appears talking about the black woman. In the hour video, Beyonce gathers prominent black women who own their blackness, and who are proud to be black; Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, and Serena Williams to name a few. Beyonce sprinkles her proclamation of who she is and who she identifies as. Earlier in the album, the video shows her embracing her Africanness as she’s wearing traditional African face paint; She also dresses as Miriam Makeba, a south African woman known as Mama Africa. The album ends with her first single of the album Formation. This song is meant to encourage black women everywhere, and is also another proclamation that she is black, from Louisiana, and Alabama. The last song is the most upbeat song, but it is also really powerful. Beyonce has outdone herself with Lemonade. Each song brings it’s own powerful message, accompanied with raw emotions that will leave the listener mesmerized. She has set the standard so high for herself with this album, and i cannot wait to see how she raises the standard higher. It is truly a must listen.



Keza Nzisabira
Keza is majoring in International Relations. She's passionate about politics, loves reading and enjoys spending quality time with her friends. She's also behind the blog Life of a Contemporary African

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