By Kimberleigh Forbes
The old adage, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade,” rings true in Beyoncé’s most recent album Lemonade. This visual and musical masterpiece is arguably her best work to date.
Lemonade takes you on journey of a woman’s pain, anger, acceptance, and forgiveness. Beyoncé tells a story that almost every woman can relate to, and it has an even deeper meaning for African American women.
This album was made to be seen and listened to in succession. If this is not done, you may miss key elements of the story.
The album begins with “Pray You Catch Me.” This is a song of intuition. She suspects something isn’t right. She doesn’t have concrete proof that her significant other is cheating, but the constant thought is in the back of her mind.
“I pray I catch you whispering,” refers to her laying there watching him sleep, hoping to catch him talking in his sleep. The pain of not knowing is slowly tearing her apart.
“Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Sorry” are songs of indignant anger after finding out her suspicions were true. “How dare you cheat on the Queen? Do you know who I am?” is what seems to seep out of the righteous anger of her words.
She lets her lover know his actions have not harmed her self-esteem; she’s still the sh*t, and will be fine without him. “Keep your money, I got my own. It puts a smile on my face, being alone,” lets him know that no amount of money, or expensive gifts will excuse the inexcusable crime of disrespecting her, and that she would gladly be alone, rather than put up with his foolishness.
Toward the end of the album, “All Night” seamlessly recognizes that though they have experienced ups and downs (lemons), their relationship is not beyond retribution. True love conquers all. Truly a beautiful ending to a sordid and complex story.
(As a side note: I believe this song represents why so many of Beyoncé’s fans are thrilled to see her pregnant. Whether the album was autobiographical or not is debatable, but her pregnancy is sort of symbolism that true love prevails through the unpredictable and rocky circumstances of relationship woes.)
The visual aspect of this album gives double meaning to the songs. Beyonce’s use of visuals for every single song is genius. The nod to her mother’s roots in Louisiana, the references to Eve’s Bayou, and the strong black women that were represented from the present time to generations past is magnificent.
There are so many layers to Lemonade, as there are so many layers to women and life in general. This album shows that life is what you make of it. You can wallow in a sour situation, or you can tackle the lemons, and have the most delicious and refreshing lemonade.
This review literally has only scraped the surface of the greatness which is Lemonade and Beyoncé in general, but I hope it is motivation to experience one of the greatest albums of our time.