Beyoncé is rather partial to an element of surprise. In 2013 out of nowhere she released a whole new album. Her fans woke up one morning to find a new record out of the blue. It started a bit of a trend, everyone is doing it now. Do you remember when U2 tried it and went one step further by putting their album on all of our phones without us even asking? That went down like a Venetian blind.
It didn’t do Beyoncé any harm as her record sold more than 5m copies worldwide and she has only gone and done it again, although I feel we are a tad more prepared this time. The album ‘Lemonade’ was made available on the streaming service Tidal then appeared on other formats a day later.
‘Lemonade’ is a rather unusual title I hear you cry. When life gives you lemons, turn it into lemonade! I actually had a look back through her Instagram account and the clues are all there. There is a picture of Beyoncé smiling holding a ripe lemon to her cheek then there is simply a picture of an ice cold glass of inviting lemonade. Another is a lemon hollowed out to become a handy candle holder. Why didn’t we realise sooner?
Beyoncé is probably the biggest pop star in the world and maintains that position by challenging herself and working with new people. The list of collaborators on the new album is interesting. First off is former White Stripes front man Jack White. He collaborates with Beyoncé on ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’, which is rockier than she normally goes.
The Weeknd is featured on a track called ‘6 Inch’, which to me is the best track on the whole album. British musician James Blake plays piano on ‘Forward’. Kendrick Lamar also features on a track called ‘Freedom.’
Like her last record, this is a visual album. In other words all the tracks have an accompanying video. She always makes suburb music videos, but I prefer to just listen to an album and create my own images in my mind.
Her writing sees her reflecting on personal heartbreak and themes such as female empowerment and racism. This is possibly her best work to date.