*Please note that this review is based on both the visual and musical version.
Beyonce released an album called Lemonade on April 26th. She released an unannounced visual album on HBO that has been the talk of the world this past week. The album alone didn’t quite grasp my attention, but the combination of the visuals and the music did.
The album is a documentary that focuses on all of the relationships in Beyonce’s life. She talks about marriage: the good, the bad, and the ugly. She starts of with a playful, yet gripping song called “Hold Up “. She walks through town wearing a golden gown, hell bent on destroying everything in her path. The next song, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” is a song that demands respect. Although the song is not my cup of tea, I can appreciate the variety it adds to the album. Jack White is a featured artist on this track, which adds a rock song to the album.
In my opinion, this is when the album becomes a little stagnant. Beyonce goes on to talk about the destruction of her relationship. The next two songs, “Sorry” and “6 inch” dragged the album down. I only stuck around for the visuals and cameos at this point. Serena Williams and a few dancers in African garb danced provocatively across the screen.
Just when I was about to call it quits, the album takes another turn. “Daddy’s Lesson” is probably my favorite song on this album. It’s like the Beyonce before “I am Sasha” was allowed to come out and play for a while. The visuals even begin to look brighter. There’s an uplifting tone to the monologue. The song leads off with a New Orleans-sounding brass band. This is an inspirational country tune that talks of a troubled father/daughter relationship. I fell in love with the song the moment I heard it.
“Love Drought” isn’t a remarkable song, but it’s followed by a beautiful piano-driven ballad called “Sand Castles”. The production on this song is amazing. The vocals are raw and intense. The visuals give you an intimate look inside of Beyonce’s relationship with Jay-Z.
By the time we reach the next song , you can tell we’ve reached a different chapter of this story. We are shown a group of women when “Forward” featuring James Blake is played in the background. This song is directly followed by a snippet, “Freedom” ft Kendrick Lamar. As Beyonce sings to a crowd of women, the mothers of slain African-American teenagers are featured standing strong: the definition of strength.
“All Night” is the closing track. It’s an uplifting reggae-inspired song. The visuals feature different couples of all races and sexual orientations.
Overall, I give this album a C-rating for music. There were some gems among the rubble that made it worth listening to. Tracks like: “Daddy Lessons”, “Sand Castles”, “Freedom”, and “All Night” were great! The beginning of the album dragged a bit in my opinion. Visually, I’m giving the album a “B”. The director took some very interesting ideas and made them work. The cameos alone made profound statements.
So, if you combine the visual with the music, Lemonade gets a “B- “.
Images appears courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com and HBO.com