SONY DADC (CD + DVD), Rs 699
Beyoncé’s sixth studio album and her second visual album features 12 new songs and a short film Lemonade that has music videos of her songs. The lyrics, contributed by many guest writers, make bold lyrical statements in the audio version as well as in the accompanying DVD. The album booklet has colour and black and white photographs from the music videos and a few personal photographs. This conceptual project has lyrics that dwell on the black community, and in particular black feminism, besides also focusing on every woman’s journey of self knowledge and healing.
The R&B sound laced with a bit of soul is well orchestrated, lyrically and musically. The album opens on a slow tone with Pray You Catch Me. “I can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath…” sings Beyoncé as she deals with an unfaithful lover. Hit of the year, Hold Up, a reggae-tinged number, sees Beyoncé as a woman possessed, marking the territory around her lover, the music video would reveal more about what she does on a street with her baseball bat. With a heavy bass beat, the effect is hallucinogenic, with a deep baseline. The melodic Jack White collaboration, Don’t Hurt Yourself, is pop-laced with a few foul lyrics spoken in a moment of rage. Sorry gets up-tempo and then suddenly drops back and jumps back to keep the flow of the song. It could become one of the better club anthems on the party circuit. Daddy Lessons has a brass edge to it, with Beyoncé talking about how her father brought her up, helping her fight for justice for the men in her life. The acoustic guitar playing country style is neat and plucky, shadowing her roots from her homeland. The pitch slows down slightly on Love Drought and the fantastic piano-laced Sandcastles, both of which are fine ballads, with Sandcastles in particular bringing out Beyonce’s rich vocal capability. It has a raw feeling to it, very emotional and personal.
After an 80 second break on Forward, we get Freedom, featuring Kendrick Lamar, which speaks of a cry for liberation. Bey goes ballistic on this piece with a shout for freedom.
Lemonade closes with Formation, a funky piece that has kinky lyrics, a heavy baseline and an unforgettable beat. It is very infectious and surely a tune that might never get out of your head.
At her most benevolent and most unadulterated, the album presents Bey at her most skilled and orchestral mode creating a mix of crazy anthems which all goes to make a great album.