It is an understatement to say that Beyoncé Knowles- Carter is anything less than that of an innovator. At the young age of 34, she has earned the title of music pioneer, clothing designer, poet and now visual artist.

Since 2013, Beyoncé has become something of a noun, verb and adjective. Even though it has been done a myriad times, releasing a surprise album, sans hype, has now become known as “pulling a Beyoncé.”

But, then again, this is the woman that is known for pulling stunts worthy of applause.  In 2013, she supposedly shut down one of the biggest football games of the year. This year, she managed to drop a music video and announce a world tour for a performance that she wasn’t even headlining.  This, ladies and gents, is the way of Queen Bey.

Playing the role of repeat offender, Beyoncé has done it again. On Saturday, she released Lemonade, her second visual album.

Lemonade has a simple premise: the protagonist finds out that her man has been cheating on her. The rest that follows is an hour-long fueled catharsis. It is risky choice for the R&B singer, given that she is known for keeping her personal life, especially her marriage to Jay Z under the wraps.

There is already speculation if the theme is centered on Jay Z or her father, Matthew Knowles, who was caught in an infidelity scandal. We may never know if this motif is autobiographical or purely cinematic. But given that Father Knowles and Jay Z are both featured in the album, the answer is a mystery.

The album is split into different chapters that follow Beyoncé’s road to emotional recovery and acceptance.

The true glue that holds Lemonade together is the powerful interludes, courtesy of Somali-British poet Warsan Shire. Throughout the album, Shire’s prose (spoken by Beyoncé) in conjunction with the strong rustic and cultural visuals guide the album to its close.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Bey channeled the words of a popular writer.  Her last album notably quoted lines from famed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Beyoncé’s stance as a Feminist really flows throughout Lemonade. The album, visually and audibly, pays homage to past and current strong female role models. Trendsetting women like tennis player Serena Williams and actresses Zendaya and Quvenzhané Wallis are scattered across the project, and quick nods to artists like Nina Simone are subtly tucked in the crevices.

Fan favorites will easily be the controversial “Sorry”, a high-tempo single produced by newcomer Melo X; “Freedom,” a strong “call to action” ballad featuring and co-written by Kendrick Lamar; and “Daddy Lessons”, her country-themed lament.

Writing credits feature Father John Misty, Diplo, Andre 300, Big Boi, Burt Bacharach, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Led Zepellin as well as many more.

There is a line at the end of “Freedom” that sums up the album: “I was served lemons, but made Lemonade.”

With ballad popular singles like “Flawless” and “Drunk in Love”, her first visual album conveyed the theme of love gone right. Lemonade shows the story of love gone sour. It is an imperfect and vulnerable side that we never see from the R&B artist.

What makes Lemonade so enjoyable, is distinguishing fact from fiction. Unlike any other album Beyoncé album, this one has a raw, unedited taste that makes you think afterward. Was it all real, or did we all fall what she wanted us to feel?

For years, Beyonce’s has made it a habit to deflect people from the reality of her personally life, but Lemonade may just be the “realest” thing she has released.

Thankfully, Lemonade has a happy ending. In typical Hollywood fashion, the album ends on sweet a note with the soulful “All Night”, which features various couples and rare clips of her pregnancy with daughter Blue Ivy and marriage to Jay Z.

It should be noted that the Formation is featured on the album, but the not on the visual counterpart.

*Lemonade is available to be streamed on Jay Z’s Tidal service or can be purchased on iTunes. Beyoncé’s Formation Tour will kick off April 27 in Miami, Florida.



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