Sadie Hersh co-editor-in-chief
“Take one pint of water, take half a pound of sugar, the juice of eight lemons, the zest of half a lemon…” This is the lemonade recipe Beyonce recites to her audience as they tune in to HBO or TIDAL to experience the artist’s visual album, “Lemonade.”
While a lot of controversy rose from the release of the album, it can be inferred that Jay-Z cheated on Beyonce.
The visual album takes fans on Queen Bey’s emotional roller coaster as she begins with intuition, denial and anger, progresses to apathy, loss and accountability, and ends with reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope and redemption (all of these words displayed throughout the film with the songs).
While the beyhive (Beyonce’s loyal fans) are determined to uncover who Jay-Z had an affair with, the now infamous “Becky with the good hair” and angrily shame the alleged designer Rachel Roy over social media, there is more to the album than Beyonce’s husband’s disloyal actions.
Beyonce includes strong social messages regarding the treatment of black women, who make up much of the cast within the videos. She calls on powerful African American feminists, such as Zendaya and Amandla Stenberg, to make appearances throughout the duration of the film. There are also clips and soundbites of black females who make up the population of New Orleans (where the movie was filmed).
The artistic and commanding visual album is made up of a variety of genres of music and features The Weeknd, James Blake and Kendrick Lamar. Ten of the 12 songs on the album ranked in the top 20 on iTunes since its release April 23.
While beyhive members would insist the entire album is a masterpiece, the songs that are “must-listen-to’s”include:
Hold Up:The catchy pop beat of this song makes it fun to blast and sing embarrassingly out of key compared to Queen Bey. Beyonce explains that no one will love “you” [Jay-Z?] like she loves “you.” In the video, the artist skips in the street (in massive platform heels) while carrying a baseball bat and smashing the windows of parked cars. Because this song is heard early on the album, Beyonce is still in her angry stage as she copes with her husband’s betrayal. Bey begs the question, “What’s worse, looking jealous or crazy?”
Sorry: This song pities Justin Bieber’s song with the same title. The R&B-like track is not only empowering to women as Bey tells her fans to tell their men “Boy bye,” but also has a great beat to jam out to. Featured in the video is number one women’s singles tennis player Serena Williams, who twerks and stands by Beyonce’s side while the artist sings “I ain’t sorry.”
Daddy Lessons: Bey mixes classic New Orleans jazz with a country tune to beautifully pull off this number. She sings about the cautions her father gave her about boys as she explains, “Daddy warned me about men like you. He said ‘Baby girl he’s playing you.’” The video contains clips of both a young Beyonce and Blue Ivy (Bey’s daughter) with the singer’s father. While Beyonce reps her Texas roots, this song makes its listeners want to clap along.
Sandcastles: While many assume Jay-Z is in hiding after Bey throws this serious shade, he shockingly makes an appearance during this song. The couple is seen embracing one another while Beyonce sings about both leaving and then forgiving her husband. The slow rhythm and simple melody of the piano make this a touching number and convey the love the two share for each other.
All Night: This closing song sums up the album as a whole. Beyonce seems to have ultimately forgiven her husband by the end of the drama. The song fluctuates between a steady rhythm and a fast-paced beat. The video includes clips of different couples from heterosexual to homosexual to interracial. The message she conveys at the end of her work is that through a long journey of contemplation, true love prevails.
Beyonce incorporates her southern roots, her black feminist beliefs and her independence, and her love to create this compilation of emotions that can be considered her masterwork.
When life gave Beyonce lemons, she made some good lemonade.