As many have expected, Beyonce has done it yet again, landing at #1 with her latest release. After drawing millions to HBO and Tidal just a week ago, she released her new visual album, Lemonade, to iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers. The full release, while teased for a short time, was as much a surprise as her last visual album, the self-titled "Beyoncé". It stands as her 6th album release to hit #1 in it’s first week of release, selling nearly 500,000 copies, and reaching 653,000 equivalent album units, according to reports from Nielsen Music.
"Lemonade" takes fans on the journey of a woman whose relationship has gone through turmoil; she was cheated on, and is now on her own path of discovery and healing. Sure, the subject is nothing new to anyone whose been in a relationship in their lives, but her approach is what is ultimately grabbing fans, and even those who haven't necessarily been fans. Starting with the album opener "Pray You Catch Me", which details her realizing her man is indeed cheating, the album takes you on an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs with tracks like "Hold Up", where frankly put, she's just ready to tear some shit up (and she does just that in the accompanied video), “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, which expresses her angry side, and “Sorry”, where she visits the feeling of apathy, but ironically is getting even. She shocks with lyrics like “I don’t give a fuck, chucking my deuces up, suck on my balls, pause, I’ve had enough, I ain’t thinkin’ bout you”.
The wow-factor doesn’t end there. Beyonce strikes gold with practically every track on the album, including “6 Inch” featuring The Weeknd, “Sandcastles”, “Freedom” featuring Kendrick Lamar, and the country inspired “Daddy Lessons”. The album closes with the politically-charged “Formation”, which debuted to the world via this year’s Super Bowl.
Beyonce definitely did her thing with this release, but she wasn’t the only one in the driver’s seat when it came down to writing, production, and so forth. A lot of hands went into making this masterpiece. Samples and elements were used from a number of artists, including Soulja Boy (“Hold Up”), Led Zeppelin (“Don’t Hurt Yourself”), Isaac Hayes (“6 inch”), Outkast (“All Night”), and more. The overall eclecticism is quite amazing, and I’m sure it has a lot to do with why the album is doing so well.
Naturally, even with sales having done so well already, there’s still some backlash in a sense over multiple things, with the most being about the album’s subject matter. Is it really about Beyonce and Jay-Z cheating? They’re relationship has been pegged by many as doomed from the start. It didn’t necessarily help that fashion designer Rachel Roy see mingling implicated herself into the midst of it all, based on a post to Instagram following the album’s release. Many wonder where the truth lies, but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. Regardless of it all, the good music shines through, and the “Lemonade” is good indeed.