Beyoncé’s sixth album comes with little fanfare, it doesn’t need to. By this stage of her career, Beyoncé needs no introduction. As ever, Beyoncé is models herself as role model for women all over the world. Whilst female empowerment is a central theme in Lemonade, the album as a whole is more personal look at her relationship with iconic rapper Jay-Z.
There is a cacophony of emotions throughout the album, from the paranoia in ‘Hold Up’, to the defiant independent snarls of ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ and then the damaged optimism of ‘Love Drought’. These emotions are underpinned by the sense of betrayal that permeates through every note of the album.
Lemonade is at its strongest when Beyoncé is at her most defiant. ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ is an example of this, her Beyoncé snarls expletives as the Led Zeppelin samples cascade around Jack White-esque squeaks and scrapes. Jack White’s vocals here and snatchy and whilst they are not as strong as Beyoncé’s they complement one another. ‘Daddy Lessons’ marches with a ballsy country stomp with ‘yeehaws!’ being shouted throughout. Even the piano-led ‘Sandcastles’ is driven by the strength of the raw emotion. Beyoncé is at her best when she is at her strongest. In ‘Freedom’ this strength is no longer personal, it is sexual and racial.
That being said, aspects of this album do no fit together, James Blake’s cameo on ‘Forward’ seems out of place in such a personal album. Moreover, Beyoncé’s singing about Jay-Z’s infidelity wears thin and by the end of the album it feels as though Beyoncé is airing her dirty laundry rather than empowering herself.