Sunday, 24 April 2016

we need to talk about lemonade


we often forget how it feels to be truly moved and affected by talent these days. amongst the mindless news of naked selfies, celebrity feuds and other trivial matters that we all involve ourselves in, it can be a shock to the system when we remember the true talent of the celebrities that grace the sidebar of shame daily. sometimes it takes a tragedy of a legend to remember their work, but in this case, it just took one word. 

lemonade. 

twenty four hours ago you'd be excused if lemonade just meant a refreshing carbonated drink to you. but that was then, and in the space of a day queen b herself has taken the term to a new level. lemonade is her latest album offering, presented to us in the form of a visual album that took my breath away. 

i'd be pushed to find a person who doesn't respect beyonce. i've met plenty of people who aren't 'into' her, or think she's overrated...to which i stare gormlessly at, shocked, and forcing them to watch her Super Bowl performances. i am a beyonce advocate, and she could sing baa baa black sheep and i'd probably weep. but lemonade feels different to me. it feels like finally, beyonce has become relatable. 

beyonce is a superstar. a seemingly untouchable woman who does no wrong. a woman who oozes star quality, with a power house voice and the rhythm to match. her interviews and carefully edited documentaries present her as a woman with spiritual depth, but i will admit i've never felt connected to her. she's so media trained, and her brand is so perfected and well oiled, i never felt she could slip or present herself as anything less than perfect.

that's until lemonade.

lemonade is a visual concept album full of insecurities, crazy thoughts, depression, anxiety, anger, revenge. beyonce roars as she screams 'this is your final warning, you know i give you life.' her voice is not perfect, it growls and trembles as her emotions come to the surface. lemonade takes you on beyonce's journey of (presumably) unfaithfulness, and with each chapter i felt more and more like she'd taken every woman's heartbreak and written it down. intuition. denial. anger. sorry. emptiness. accountability. reformation. forgiveness. resurrection. freedom. redemption. each chapter telling her own story of love and heartbreak. 

jay z and beyonce are a well oiled machine, and i am not in anyway naive to the pr job at work here. but, in my eyes, it's her way of settling the rumours of their turbulent marriage her way. beyonce is a woman of fierce power, the total boss of any room she enters. the media and tabloids are one thing she cannot control, and her dignified silence on rumours (hello solange in the elevator...) has ultimately been leading to this moment. the freedom to tell her own story. a chance for her to direct how these events felt to her. fantasise her emotions into a film, which may now distance her from the reality she lived in as she wrote. 

but why now? beyonce's albums in the past have alluded to the dishonesty in her life. 'ring the alarm', 'mine', 'why don't you love me' all feel like they could have belonged on lemonade. but, like any woman, perhaps the time wasn't right. perhaps these were stories she didn't feel completely ready to tell. it was still raw. but now, after seemingly coming out the other side, she feels ready to dictate exactly how it went down. narrate it the way she wants to, now she has forgiven whoever broke her heart. it is only when you can truly remove yourself from something that you can articulate it into something that feels real, and this is what lemonade has become for beyonce. it is her truth. and i feel that the album ending on formation, and it being the first song she shared with us from this new era, speaks volumes. she is already reformed, and now she is ready to share with us how she got there.

it's not black and white. like any love story, there are twists and turns in lemonade that often make you forget who you're rooting for. 'hold up' you want to be there with beyonce smashing her the car of the person who let you down, but 'sorry' (whilst sassy as hell) shows you there are two sides to every story. i don't doubt that beyonce played this man at his own game, avenging his betrayal with her own games. two wrongs don't make a right. but the emotive 'sandcastles' tenderly reminds you that love is complicated, and perhaps there is room for forgiveness if it's worth fighting for. 

lemonade is not just important for beyonce's soul, and the way it has already become a pillar of musical importance, but it has so many more themes running in the visual album that are of paramount importance. raising awareness for black lives and the racial tensions, family issues and dealing with childhood anxieties... it's full of importance on levels i still haven't discovered. it is not just another trivial pop album. it's one we will discuss in schools, universities, lectures for years to come.

beyonce sings 'i'm not too perfect to ever feel this worthless.' a lyric that turned her from a superstar, to a real woman for me. if you do one thing today, watch her visual album. then listen to the music. you won't regret it.

phew. i'll calm down now.

until next time xo
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