Eighteen long, grueling months have passed since Beyoncé surprise-released Lemonade in April 2016 and shattered the world as we know it (or so I've heard).
It’s here, a year and a half after Lemonade's fateful drop, that I find myself still unexposed to the wonders of Queen Bey.
Yes, that’s right. It’s November 2017, and I still haven’t heard Lemonade. Save your astonishment! I could fill a Superdome-sized trough with the sea of Lemonade shade (Lemoshade?) I’ve endured from my more Bey-woke acquaintances.
I’m used to it. I embrace it. I’m The Guy Who Hasn’t Heard Lemonade™. It’s my personal brand.
I won’t dare dip my toes into the music streaming debate, but my reason for ignoring Lemonade is pretty simple: I don’t have Tidal and didn’t fancy paying $17.99 for music in a world where most of it comes (relatively) free. I never felt compelled (or desperate) enough to download it illegally somewhere.
But something came over me this week. The time has come. I’m taking my 18 bucks usually reserved for vegetables (what's a proper diet without Lemonade?) and I’m giving this album — nay, this iconic multimedia experience — a go.
So here is my track-by-track recap of Lemonade, where I’ll examine each song, give it a GIF review and hopefully exonerate myself for waiting this long.
Note: This review won't factor in the visual album. Baby steps, guys. I'll watch that in 2018 or something.
1. Pray You Catch Me
2. Hold Up
3. Don't Hurt Yourself (feat. Jack White)
5. 6 Inch (feat. The Weeknd)
6. Daddy Lessons
7. Love Drought
9. Forward (feat. James Blake)
10. Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
11. All Night
And that's it!
Wow! Already done! Just like that, my Lemonade virginity is gone, traded for a mere $17.99 to the iTunes Gods (enjoy it, guys).
So, to summarize: I get it. I understand why this album matters to so many people, why it’s so critically acclaimed. Beyoncé’s vulnerability is captivating. She takes listeners on a turbulent journey of self-discovery, a search for her own self-worth and a test of faith. She celebrates her femininity and cultural heritage, dishing out empowering anthems for both. By Lemonade's end, I had felt Beyoncé's pain and perseverance. I couldn’t help it. I struggled as she struggled, and gained a greater appreciation for what she's been through.
Musically, I don’t love every song on Lemonade, but the eclecticness works well for a listener like me, someone poorly-versed in pop music, looking for other styles to grasp onto.
I don’t see Lemonade becoming my go-to subway soundtrack. But if I hear it again — at a party or in a car — I’ll watch others rejoice and I’ll finally know why.