BEYONCÉ X LEMONADE
by Jeremy Danté
the concept of visual albums, truly, are a concept that has only existed within the realm of musical superstars. with the recent passing of prince, i seen “purple rain” at AMC 25 here in new york city. as i wiped tears from my eyes through every scene that seemed to slowly climax to the performance of “purple rain”, i thought of beyoncé. from insiders involved with production on the visual aspects of the body of work coming, i knew a full album would be dropping last night, so i went to bed and put my phone on sleep mode.
in an effort to absorb the creative content, as many of us should do with any full scoped body of work by any artist. i absorbed the message of freedom laid in the foundation before the days of beyoncé by prince. i thought about other legends, i thought of whitney houston and the bodyguard soundtrack, which was wildly successful in the musical market place, still being the best selling soundtrack of all-time. i thought of mariah with glitter, and though much can be said of that project, it still sold triple platinum across the globe. and who could forget the many visual films of michael jackson? of course, in the wake of our loss of prince, purple rain continues to reign across 80 nationwide participating AMC theaters, a true testament to the work of prince, and his artistic approach to curation of visuals, emotions and experience.
what beyoncé has done with this album, in contrast to what was done with her self-titled visual project from 2013 is expand her vocal textures through production. visually she has paid poetic tribute to being a proud black woman. in a coordinated balance of vulnerability and power, beyoncé understands more perfectly in this time now; how to play the foreground and background in a beautifully balanced form. her sensitivity to time and culture are so closely intertwined that there isn’t many other ways to refer to her outside of exceptional. an individualized artist of sound and style, what exists in this body of work is a careful crafting, that cannot be planned; it pours. the timing is spot on.
many of the albums visuals hint at moments in beyoncé’s career over the last, almost, 20 years. moments that showcase her love for her mother, her recognition of her father. it includes elements of creole ethnic make-up, the legacy of her grandmother, while much of the outspoken character traits of free artistic form, similar to those we’ve seen with solange, her sister, also make their way into the trenches of the albums overall message. there is a reality that is applied to love, that leaves questions when listening and watching the visual story unfold. by the albums end, the questions are answered- thus, the importance of seeing the body of work in totality before having any response at all.
i won’t take time to reveal my favorite tracks on the album, i will leave you to your own time to decide for yourself. to find the ways that you identify with the story being told, so you can come to a place of relativity within yourself and what beyoncé has put forth. i am one for love stories, i am one of loyalty and one who is always for the fight for what is right. here, beyoncé introduces a narration that is necessary for culture, for black people and for music as a whole. no borders are left unturned, no boundaries are left un-challenged and for that, beyoncé holds her strength of self close to heart. in that closeness, we as the audience are drawn in. for artists to recognize greatness of present time, nothing is impossible.
view ‘lemonade‘ now exclusively on tidal
album not yet released to iTunes