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When life gives you a cheating husband, make Lemonade

Beyonce releases crowd-pleasing sixth album

Alison Aiken and Megan McAlister
Originally published June 24, 2016


Beyoncé impressed the world once again with the release of her newest album, “Lemonade.” This is a powerful collection of songs expressing the emotional journey to redemption she traveled after discovering the infidelity of her husband, rapper Jay Z. These 12 songs capture her emotional rollercoaster. From the denial and anger to sadness and forgiveness, “Lemonade” expresses it all.

This surprise album was released on April 23, along with a music video that captured moments of her performing parts of each of her new songs. This video was a tear jerker; she reached out to her listeners, hoping they would feel and understand her experience as directly as possible.

The events that led to the making of this album occurred over a year ago, however it wasn’t made public knowledge until “Lemonade” came out. Beyoncé found out about Jay Z’s affair with “Becky with the good hair,” as referred to in the fourth song on her album; “Sorry.” Beyoncé used her pain and anger to fuel the passion on this album, which comes through in lyrics throughout the tracklist. “Middle fingers up, I ain’t thinking ‘bout you,” she sings.

The first few songs on the album convey her denial of the affair. Along with intense song lyrics like, “Nothing else ever seemed to hurt like the smile on your face,” slow, steady beats and soft violins and piano are used in the first song “Pray You Catch Me.” Using a wide range of vocals, hitting high notes and low notes and all notes in between, in her next song, “Hold Up,” Beyoncé sings about how crazy her love for Jay Z is, and accuses him of treating her badly. This song transitions from the slow beat and the initial sadness to the growing anger, which is an album- wide occurrence.

The developing anger from “Hold Up” gets firmly released in her next two songs. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Sorry” both have an upbeat tempo with dramatic drums and Beyoncé’s angry singing, almost yelling.

The fifth song “6 Inch” builds up with dramatic music with the useage of a constant drum, guitar beat and background singers highlighting her voice, before Beyoncé begins the first verse. Featuring singer The Weeknd, this upbeat song portrays how Beyoncé first dealt with her husband’s unfaithfulness. The song ends with Beyoncé softly repeating the words “come back,” as if she is begging Jay Z to leave his lover and return to her.

“Daddy Lessons,” the next song, brings a very different perspective to the album. Consisting of more country and western tunes, Beyoncé sings passionately of the gun that her father gave to her when she was young and how he taught her to shoot. Although her vocals sound friendly and warm, the underlying message is that she’s threatening her husband. Clearly she isn’t actually going to shoot her husband, however this is Beyoncé’s way of warning him that she is very close to snapping.

Beyoncé’s more classic sound appears in the soft and smooth tunes of “Love Drought,” when she sings about how in love she is with Jay Z, and asks repeatedly “what did I do wrong?” This slower song, along with the next song “Sandcastles,” reveals the transition in Beyoncé’s thoughts about her relationship with her husband and what their future holds. Instead of being angry, she realizes how much she loves her husband and that even though he cheated on her, her love hasn’t gone away.

The ninth track is an eighty second clip that consists of James Blake repeatedly singing the word “Forward” to a very slow and somber tune that echoes his voice. He talks about ways that Beyoncé and Jay Z can move forward in their relationship, and he is joined after the first forty seconds by Beyoncé herself who echoes his words more softly.

The slow, sad melody disappears in the next song “Freedom,” which has a more upbeat and fast paced tempo. The drums are louder in this song, contributing to it’s dramatic feel. In this empowering song, Beyoncé belts out how she “breaks chains” and wants to be free. Accompanied by Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé makes her audience experience first hand her feelings of independence and power. By harnessing her traditional “girl power” motto, Queen B creates an electric atmosphere that makes female listeners want to leave boys behind, like she suggests in the song.

“All Night,” the second to last song on the tracklist, is five minutes of Beyoncé singing about how everlasting and strong her and Jay Z’s love is and remains. This romantic, slower song wraps up the album in a positive way. The audience believes that after everything that Beyoncé went through, her love for Jay Z is strong and will leave them in a better place than they began.

Ending “Lemonade” on a strong note, Beyoncé sings about her southern roots and mentions how much she “slays” in an effort to express how strong and empowered she is. “Formation” has a feminine undertone to it’s powerful vibe, as Beyoncé sings “Okay ladies now let’s get in formation” over and over. She reminds her audience how strong she is in an effort to reassure that although her world was rocked when Jay Z cheated on her, she worked through it and came out stronger and more empowered than ever.

“Lemonade” is by far Beyoncé’s most emotional album, with more twists and turns than anyone would have guessed. The diverse tracklist allows her audience to experience the vivid emotions she experienced when she discovered that her husband committed adultery. Beyoncé accomplished in one album what many artists try to achieve throughout their entire career: diverse music that all different kinds of people can understand and relate to, while at the same time staying true to who she is. By maintaining her feminine and self-loving beliefs that she has incorporated into her other albums, Beyonce shows her fans that she can go through a major heartbreak and be okay in the end.

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When life gives you a cheating husband, make Lemonade