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When Life Gives You Lemons

“I was served lemons but I made lemonade” -Hattie White

Here we are, almost three years after Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter changed the standards of music with her self-titled album, she has given us “Lemonade.”

Many didn’t know what to expect when Beyoncé announced her HBO special a week before the actual event.

An album?

A short film?

A PSA for a vegan diet?

When dealing with an artist as unpredictable as Beyoncé, you have to be prepared for anything. My first thought when I saw the announcement for “Lemonade,” was that this was the album release. Her tour starts April 27th, and while she has toured without an album, I knew the day was coming.

What I wasn’t expecting was a cohesive visual album chronicling the steps of hurt, anger and reconciliation coupled with visuals that chronicle the different types of black lives with images of plantation life, the antebellum south and current trends. Even starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood like Serena Williams and Zendaya.

But the lyrics of “Lemonade” is what had caught people’s attention. The internet quickly began speculating on the status of one of the most influential relationships in Hollywood. Were we finally hearing the details of the infamous 2014 Elevator incident? Or worse, were we witnessing the end of Jayoncé?

When it comes to the meaning of the music, I think we have nothing to fear.

First- Jay Z and Beyoncé went on their major joint tour On The Run months following the incident.

Additionally, though the first half of “Lemonade” alludes to the drama of infidelity there is something to be said about the later end, where we see intimate moments of the power couple.

And Beyoncé has never been very candid about her relationship. Would she reveal her husband’s cheating on such a public forum?  

Many members of the Beyhive seem to see the album as a tribute to Beyoncé’s mother, Tina, who publically divorced Mathew Knowles in 2011 after numerous reports of cheating, and fathering a child outside of the marriage.  Tina has since remarried.

Sure Rachel Roy made some comment about being “Becky with the good hair” and spoke out against the attacks of the dedicated Hive. For those who don’t know Roy is the ex-wife of Jay Z’s former friend and business partner Dame Dash, and was implicated as the woman who sparked Solange’s attack in the elevator.

But I still am skeptical that any of this has to do with the Queen.

Because then there’s the quote, “There is a curse that will be broken” – said before going into “Sandcastles,” where Jay makes an appearance. Perhaps, Bey isn’t saying that she is dealing with the problem of cheating, but she’s working against being another woman whose world is shattered by infidelity.

Besides, the who is not that important, it’s the music.

I’ve never heard Bey like this before. In one album she covers every major genre. The standout of this is the track “Daddy Lessons” to which one of my friends said sounded like a Carrie Underwood song. But it’s Beyoncé reminding the world that’s she’s still a Texas girl at heart.  On the other spectrum, she joins Jack White for “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” a true rock song. There’s the modern day hip-hop tune, “6 Inch” featuring The Weeknd. We get the reggae feel in “Hold Up,” which is sure to be the jam of the summer.

And the ballads. The ballads are everything.

On any other album, the mix of sounds would start to be too erratic for a listener to truly enjoy it but Bey seems to seamlessly transition to be one cohesive unit, due in large part to the visual presentation of the songs. In many ways the Lemonade short film was needed for this album to really make its impact. It may have exasperated the much-anticipated release of new music but it forced us to tune in and actually listen to the entire album. Bey has been vocal about this concept when discussing her process for her last album, saying that she misses the immersive style of music with videos and not the focus on one single song.

The way music is released and distributed has already changed.  In the year 2016, music-streaming services have dominated the business.  Taylor Swift exclusively dropped her concert and music video on Apple Music. Kanye West’s very anticipated “The Life of Pablo” was only made available on Tidal. And Drake fans? Don’t be surprised if the 6 God drops “Views from the Six” on Apple Music.

Beyoncé is a part owner of Tidal so it’s no surprise that she released the album there. She’s shared a few videos over the past year on the site (Die For You???). True die-hard-fans already bite the bullet and pay for the service, while casual fans just take advantage of their 90-day free trial until the album becomes available for purchase.  It’s annoying, yes but it’s a practice that’s going nowhere. I suggest that if you are a fan of any musician with an affiliation to one service, pay for it.  

Not to worry though, the album is now available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon, many expect the album will top charts and break records.

TL:DR- Beyoncé is back and she’s serving fresh squeezed Lemonade, because she slays okay?

FYI- Tidal actually has a 50% discount for students (that’s around $9 for the best quality and about $4 for the lowest quality).

Brooke Giles

Maryland '18

Brooke is from Clinton, Maryland and is a senior at the University of Maryland, studying Broadcast Journalism. A self-proclamied Pop Music enthusiast, she loves everything about music especially when it involves Beyoncé and hopes to work in radio or for a record company.
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