Beyoncé has captivated us in a way that she hasn’t in the past. We cannot get enough of her new visual album Lemonade. Everyone has something to say about it and trust the commentary is all over the place.
As a fan, I admit that I have gone through many emotions listening to Lemonade for the last week. My initial thought process was, “Oh snap they are divorcing,” but I was caught up in the hype of it all. Realizing she is talking about Jay-Z didn’t allow me to see the work of art for what it is. It wasn’t until my boyfriend so simply broke it down for me that I took off the “oh no he didn’t” glasses I had on the whole time. Lemonade is about Bey taking the sour, hurtful, unbearable moments of her relationship with Jay, wading through the bull shit, finding herself, battling through her hurt from his mistakes and deciding to turn it all into something sweet.
Each song reveals parts of her story and shows her evolution as an artist and a woman. They tell us the most intense moments of her relationship, and how they have made her who she is. So here is a breakdown of each song and how they all add up to some pretty sweet lemonade.
Pray You Catch Me
This song is the album’s opener because it establishes the hurt she has felt from infidelity. “You can taste the dishonesty… Nothing else ever seems to hurt like the smile on your face.” It’s a plea to her man. She wants him to care that she knows what he’s doing “I’m prayin you catch me.”
So after she realizes that he’s not trying to hear her cries (or prayers), she takes it to the next step. If you’re not going to hear me, then let me make one thing clear, “They don’t love you like I love you.” Beyoncé points out that she has never placed another man above him, but yet he continues to misbehave. And his acting up may cause her to “fuck me up a bitch.” She drives home her angst by asking the questing, “What’s worst, being jealous or crazy?” She’d rather be crazy, so at this point, all that praying stuff is out the window.
Don’t Hurt Yourself
Now, Bey is like, “I tried to be nice” and warns her man “Don’t hurt yourself” by hurting me. This is the turning point where she realizes that she has to point out who she is in order to get his attention. She doesn’t HAVE to check for him, but she chooses too because she loves him. “Motivate your ass.” Oh, and she tells him to stop trying to “recreate her.” Which leads me to the next song…
At this part of the story, she has done the same shit to him that he’s done to her. She wants him to know that she is not sorry and in fact, he’s messing up her grinding. “Boy bye” is her saying “I’m not worried about you anymore, I’m doing me.” She has her “middle fingers up” because she doesn’t give a fuck how he feels. And in the event it doesn’t work out, he needs to go back to the “Becky with the good hair,” because Bey and her baby are going to be okay.
In this song, to prove that she’s that self-made bitch, Beyoncé praises her work ethic. We all know she is a beast when it comes to her craft, and 6 Inch celebrates that. From walking into the club in her stilettos to not having to “give it up because she’s professional,” Beyoncé lets the haters know what’s up. She can stand alone sans Jay-Z.
After calming down and giving her situation some thought, she realizes that her father was right about her no good man in the first place. She thinks back to not only her daddy telling her to stay away from him, but also about the life lessons her father taught her as a whole.
The opening verse tells us right off the bat that she is still in love with her man. But his womanizing, lying ways continue to hinder the progress. She wants to be forgiving. In fact, she has been, but the miscommunication and lack of commitment have caused a severe drought in their lives. She is pleading with this man, calling him her “lifeline.” And only both of them working together can fix it. “Do you want to fix it?”
Ya’ll she tells us that she walked away from her relationship. It wasn’t built on a solid foundation. Clearly her appeal to him in Love Drought wasn’t enough. Thus, she made the very hard decision to bow out. But then, despite the promise she made to herself that she would leave, she couldn’t. The love she has for him is too strong. All of the fighting, broken frames, and scratched pictures aside, his brokenness, made her stay. But does that means she is happy?
From their love drought, after realizing that she is willingly attached to him, they move forward. As a couple, not two people in business together. “It’s time to fight.”
Now that they are fixing their relationship, she wants him to know that she needs freedom. No, she WILL have her freedom. But this song is not just about freedom from him. It’s about freedom in life for everyone who needs it.
This is it! Everything that she’s gone through led to this moment. After deciding to forgive, be okay with and making lemonade, she is ready to get back to the way things were. She can trust him again. Bey gave him time, and he seems to have proven himself. Now she can love on him, All Night long. Their true love, though imperfect, has proven to be the greatest weapon and breathed salvation back into her. The person who once caused so much pain has now become her healer.
The lemonade has been sipped, and so it’s time to use the power she feels from the restoration of her marriage to affect change on a whole other level. Unapologetically, she tells us that her baby is her life, her husband is her world, and proclaims who she says she is, not what others want her to be. Beyoncé calls all of us to action. It’s time to get in Formation.
This album is truly beautiful and guides us through a journey so personal, so real and so familiar. We should all seek to turn our lemons into a refreshing drink that renews our souls.