Sixth album is broadcast in full on Saturday night, with a video for each anthem, and then made available on streaming service Tidal
The surprise of releasing an album with no warning is perhaps a somewhat overdone trick now, but the news that Beyonc released her sixth solo album, called Lemonade, on Saturday night still managed to be the various kinds of event that confirms her status as arguably the worlds resulting female pop star.
The album was debuted at 9pm EST on Saturday night on the cable channel HBO. It took the form of a succession of music videos linked by verse by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire. The directors of the videos included heavyweights like Mark Romanek. By the end of the hour-long broadcast, the album was available to stream on Tidal, backed by Jay-Z, Beyoncs husband.
However, the state of the pairs marriage is sure to come under scrutiny given the angry tone of the first few sungs. The first video, for Pray You Catch Me, considered Beyonc walking down the street and smashing up cars with a baseball bat, singing about a man who had betrayed her trust. Musically, the album is eclectic, moving into boulder, country and jazz in places and including partnerships with Jack White, Diplo, James Blake, Kendrick Lamar and the Weeknd. Meanwhile the title seems inspired by the old adage, If life hands you a lemon, construct lemonade.
Lemonade also demonstrates Beyoncs increasing willingness and desire to express her political positions. One of the cinemas for Lemonade depicted the mothers of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin holding photographs of their sons. The album is also strongly feminist in tone, one sung declaring females dont cease on themselves.
The arrival of Lemonade didnt render quite the same shockwaves as the release of Beyonc, her previous album, on 13 December 2013. There had been no warned against that album, and for it to arrive like the most recent album, with a complete accompanying decide of music videos felt like a seismic event for the music industry. Though albums had been released with little or no notice, never before had an artist with as much commercial power as Beyonc been able to release an album with no advising to complete surprise.
This time, however, there had been hints that something was happening. First, Beyonc released a new single, Formation, in February her first new music since the 2013 album then performed it at the Super Bowl halftime show. If it were possible for Beyonc to raise her profile any higher, the Super Bowl prove did it: her performance, a vigorous spectacle that paid tribute to the Black Panthers, of a ballad whose lyrics and video were clearly linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, elicited anger among police unions, some of whom threatened to withdraw security services from her concerts.
That tour the second clue that an album was imminent will start on 27 April in Miami and comes to the UK at the end of June, with stadium shows in Sunderland, Cardiff, Manchester, London and Glasgow. It is part of a cluster of Beyonc activity that also suggested there would be music coming imminently. Last week she launched a range of manner sportswear, Ivy Park, selling through Top Shop in the UK. On Monday she released a trailer for Lemonade, a mysterious world premiere event that will be broadcast on the US network HBO on Saturday.
The surprise release of her last album did not harm it commercially. Beyonc entered the US Billboard chart at No 1, and became the fastest-selling album on iTunes worldwide. Its estimated total sales of 5m beat the 3m copies sold of its predecessor, 4.
Track listing for Beyoncs new album, Lemonade
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