OK, the wait is over. Beyoncé finally unveiled her long awaited visual album, “Lemonade.”
the superstar dropped the 12 track album exclusively via Tidal in the middle of an HBO “visual album” presentation Saturday night (04-22-16).
The way Time saw it, Bey returned to ideas she’s been working through since the early days of her solo career.
And on the HBO special, she devoted an hour’s worth of attention to themes of adultery. “Are you cheating on me?” she asks, opening a church door, and a river’s worth of water follows.
Here’s some more of Time’s review:
“Lemonade” revealed only a little compellingly new about Beyoncé’s perspective on the world, but a great deal about her future. Devoted fans and casual listeners alike know that her music lies at the place where the power of the independent woman runs up against the desire for conventional romance. Given an hour of heavily-promoted airtime on TV and capitalizing on the vast appetite of her fans for new material, Beyoncé made similar points, but—thanks to first-class visuals and extensive voice-over—on a titanic scale.
The storyline of Lemonade follows a character’s gradual journey from repulsion to forgiveness after a betrayal by her partner. That journey felt, in the viewing, at times too gradual; the thread was occasionally muddled, never more so than when Beyoncé’s real-life husband, the rapper Jay Z, appeared and was serenaded by Beyoncé, only to give way to his wife going solo and singing a couple more songs of empowerment. The message Beyoncé sought to send felt at once crystal-clear (she has enough power to make Jay Z show up for the taping of a song about Beyoncé’s own feelings of disenchantment with love) and occluded (how bad could things be, after all, if he didn’t only show up to the taping but was seen, charmingly, chasing daughter Blue Ivy Carter around during the closing credits?). The depiction of young, slain black men like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, towards the special’s end, jarred like a loose tooth; it didn’t sit well, and perhaps wasn’t meant to.
Ambition is a tricky thing for pop singers, especially nowadays. It’s easiest to charm and disarm without the heaviness of potentially alienating big ideas. Lemonade, with its say-no-to-nothing visual and aural aesthetic (was that Serena Williams grinding? Was that just a country song?) pushed past taste even as its core lyrical message was simple. It courted the fate of doomed projects of the past like, for instance, Lady Gaga’s Artpop or Madonna’s American Life, albums that placed ideas over the conventional sound or the demands of the marketplace.
It’s also worth noting that Beyoncé sets out on her “Formation” world tour starting April 27 in Miami.