Record Bulletin

Beyoncé – “Lemonade” Review

beyonce-lemonade-album-coverBEYONCE – Lemonade (Columbia): The first half of this album is unstoppable. Beyoncé starts by pondering whether it’s better catching her man in the compromising position she suspects he’s perpetrating or losing her mind to jealousy. She does a country-swing ditty talking about how her gun- and whiskey-loving daddy always taught her to be wary of men like him when they come into her life. She busts in on the club in six-inch stripper heels and slays everyone there to do justice for hard-working women everywhere. As Jack White rolls on the drums in his alt-blues style she lays into her easily-replaceable man for being a no-good cheat with herself as her own backing chorus, raging hard against a guy with a God complex who doesn’t realize he’s the weak link in the relationship—not to mention the final line, “If you try this shit again you gon lose your wife” is positively spine-chilling. She offers no apologies on “Sorry,” a simple two-note buzzer answering every line she lays down, the best song here and one of the best she’s written ever, period, culminating in the chorus the 100% perfect kiss-off: “Middle fingers up, put them hands high / Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye.”

But ballads like “Sandcastles” are sappy no matter how great the visuals she attaches to them are—you won’t watch the videos every time you listen to the music. Not to mention that there’s no way she’d air private dirty laundry this publicly if A) allegations of Jay-Z’s adultery weren’t certain, or unless B) the whole soap opera is elaborate performance art. I put my money on A, which is why the ballads are less moving since they aren’t the brutal and ballsy condemnations the first half packs. Plus that first half sees Beyoncé teaming up with a slew of top-tier white male performers (Jack White, Ezra Koenig, James Blake) and politely blows them away just by being present. (You’ll recall that a POS album by one of alt/indie’s golden boys somehow beat her for Album of the Year, so the desire to show her supremacy isn’t hard to understand.) I mean, so much of this album is about dominance—sexually, personally, politically, monetarily, musically, culturally—that giving the geezer or the white alt/indie elite even a slight pass is out of place. It’s more compelling when she’s telling them they can watch her fat ass twist off than when she reminds them together they can make it rain. Right. So the first half had the making of a perfect album, and the second half starts to lag. Then again, you always have the video to go to. And if you haven’t watched the video, do it. A MINUS

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