Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Beyoncé embodies this saying on her album Lemonade, which took the world by storm in late April. She fooled the world again by releasing another surprise visual album in the same vein as BEYONCÉ – but this time, as an hourlong HBO special, because releasing 16 individual music videos wasn’t enough of an accomplishment. On the album, Bey sings about a cheating husband who fooled her, and she leaves it on us to decide whether that’s fact or fiction.
Lemonade one-ups the acclaimed self-titled release not only through its visual presentation, but also its music. As always, Beyoncé sounds ***Flawless. But unlike on BEYONCÉ, where she reinvented urban contemporary, Queen Bey smashes the concept of genre with a baseball bat on Lemonade.
She makes pop masterpieces like “Hold Up,” rocks out with Jack White on “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” puts on her country boots for “Daddy Lessons” (which she recently remade with the Dixie Chicks), belts a soul ballad on “Sandcastles,” joins Kendrick Lamar for the hip-hop jam “Freedom,” returns to her R&B roots with “All Night” and perfects urban contemporary on “Formation.” That’s barely half the album.
But the fans made the album a cultural phenomenon. It started when Beyoncé released “Formation,” which seemed like a one-off single at the time in February. Fans latched onto the now-famous lyric, “When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster,” which inspired many a meme.
When you realize your dad took your mom to red lobster every week pic.twitter.com/Re7PPLmbvI— John Legend (@johnlegend) February 6, 2016
When the album came out, the fans were at it again– this time, in pursuit of “Becky with the good hair,” the name Beyoncé gives to her husband’s supposed mistress on “Sorry.” The
Beyhive took to social media to call out every suspect from fashion designer Rachel Roy to singer Rita Ora. (Both women made statements denying the allegations.) Some fans even targeted celebrity cook Rachael Ray by accident.
I know most of us try to forget, but it was BEYONCÉ that got the singer ever so close to the Grammy for album of the year, before she lost to Beck’s dark horse Morning Phase. Now, fans and critics alike hope Beyoncé will get the top honor for Lemonade, with “Formation” also nominated in the song and record categories and Adele as the only real competition. On top of it all, critics are now hailing Lemonade as the album we needed after Donald Trump won the presidential election in a surprise victory.
In the Queen’s words, “I slay.”