Today marks the fifth anniversary of Beyonce‘s seminal sixth studio album ‘Lemonade.’
For most artists, maintaining success is a tall task. Yet, for Queen Bey there was the added pressure of elevating her own inimitable standard.
Proving that there’s no challenge insurmountable for her, the superstar singer poured out the project – which, as has become custom, arrived alongside a full-length visual – on April 23 2016. And, in the process, she dispelled any and all doubt about her dominance.
More than music, more than videos, ‘Lemonade’ was a statement.
Weaved within its melodic anthems was a brand of lyrical candidness that equally addressed Black pride and Black plight. Black love, specifically her love, was also explored with transparency that reminded of the humanity and relatability that exist within her superhero exterior.
The movie’s incredible mise en scene complimented this in earnest.
So, as we toast to this multi-Platinum culture-shifter, join us below as we pop the cork on That Grape Juice’s Top 5 Tracks From Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’...
A wildcard, we know. But this haunting, tear-jerking ballad has long served as a favorite here at TGJ.
Its lyrics, which tell of a relationship recovering after time on the rocks, are powered by a potently piercing vocal performance. At multiple points, Bey does away with the perfection that has become her trademark and instead trades it for a rawness that resonates and reverberates. A criminally underrated gem that reminds us that sometimes all that’s needed is a piano and mic.
4. Daddy Lessons
While Beyonce has been unapologetically rooted in R&B for much of her career, her versatility is unmatched. That fact is showcased amply on this Country-kissed cut.
We love a narrative-driven track and this seismically satisfies our appetite.
Our only wish is that the Dixie Chicks collaboration version featured on the main album. What a moment!
3. Freedom (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
While an album as masterful as ‘Lemonade’ is likely to see most of its tracks make lists similar to the one you’re reading now, not all songs lay fair claim to being the heartbeat of the LP. And that’s exactly what this anthem is: ‘Lemonade’s heartbeat.
With its pulsating production, powerful lyrics, and uplifting urgency, the K.Dot assisted cut manages to encapsulate much of the project’s semantic anchoring.
Indeed, all at once, it speaks of the pain of the past and liberating one’s self to attain the ultimate empowerment. A musical sermon.
2. Hold Up
This is what we like to call a juxtaposition jam. The contrast between the bright upbeat production (and video) and the down-trodden lyrics make this such a compelling listen.
Sonically too, the song glides between the mellow and the manic – reminding that Queen Bey will not be boxed in.
The perfect marriage between Beyonce the “stage blazer” and Beyonce the “truth bearer,” ‘Formation’ unquestionably serves as the album’s main attraction.
It’s fervent and fiery, yet is more than a booty-shaking bop. It’s an unapologetic celebration of Blackness and given the time of its arrival, this career highlight fittingly became a cultural landmark too.
Over the years, Beyonce has been the “showgirl,” the “diva,” and the “social advocate.” With this jam, she encapsulates all – firing from all cylinders full throttle.
‘Formation’ is artistic evolution. ‘Formation’ is excellence. And five years on, ‘Formation’ is still fire!
Do you agree with our picks?