Lemonade is the sixth album from R&B singer Beyoncé. It was first presented to the public as an hour-long art film on HBO, was available for streaming on the Tidal platform and is now being widely released today. I’m going to make a point of discussing the album separate from the imagery.
It’s just astonishing how much musical ground Lemonade covers (experimental electronic music, reggae, dancehall, blues, country) without sounding like a forced effort to be diverse. The production is so full and rich and attentive. Beyoncé’s vocals continue her trend of being richer and more powerful with each release. As we already know, the lyrics are endlessly quotable. This is before getting into any of the sociopolitical context from the film, any of the references (I’ve only seen it once but I thought mainly of Daughters of the Dust and Oxum), any of the cameos.
The album is presented in most discussion so far as a kiss-off to Jay Z and while that’s certainly one way to read it, Lemonade also gets into how cheating has been generational within the Knowles family (Beyoncé’s mother and sister were both cheated on as well) and connects this to how women (and specifically, black women) are always treated with disregard in this country. There are so many layers here to unpack.