There’s something deeply heartbreaking about uncertainty as Beyoncé prays to either discover the infidelity she suspects or be caught trying to find it in the chorus of Pray You Catch Me, the first song off of Lemonade. The album goes through the many cycles that come after finding out the worst before ending with hope, reconciliation and the desire for eventual forgiveness. It’s a testament to Beyoncé’s command of pop culture as she once again defies traditional methods of release to unveil Lemonade as a weekend HBO special. Yet, despite the unconventional rollout, the focus is even more on the musical qualities and lyrics, particularly due to the plain-as-day revelation that Jay-Z was unfaithful – or was he?
She expresses an emotional array of themes, lyrics and experiences while expanding her sound into unexpected territory. The raw delivery of Don’t Hurt Yourself, featuring Jack White and a Led Zeppelin sample, and the swinging country of Daddy Lessons are among them, but she does stick close to comfort on tracks like Sorry, while 6 Inch steps it up to 11. Beyoncé was a class of its own when it dropped a few years back, but Lemonade shows that Beyoncé is deserving of her well-earned status as the pop culture icon – and we are her witness.
1. Pray You Catch Me
2. Hold Up
3. Don’t Hurt Yourself [featuring Jack White]
5. 6 Inch [featuring The Weeknd]
6. Daddy Lessons
7. Love Drought
9. Forward [featuring James Blake]
10. Freedom [featuring Kendrick Lamar]
11. All Night