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Lemonade: The Perfect Drop

Updated: Jan 27, 2019



If anybody was in doubt that video is King, let the Queen B educate you. On Saturday night, after the HBO Premiere of the full one hour visual album, Mrs. Carter dropped her sixth solo album and her most outwardly personal work to date, "Lemonade," stopped the world, broke the internet and changed the rules once again.


We're here to discuss visuals, but first from a Marketing standpoint let's clarify...this was not just another album drop. In light of what actually went down calling it a drop makes it sound like a casual faux pas, like oops I sprinkled too much sugar on my Bey flakes. This was an exclusive, fully scaled, perfectly teased, mixed media distribution masterminded by Tidal and the folks at Pretty Bird, and it was absolutely brilliant. Hats off.


The Preface


Beyoncé spent most of 2016 dropping hints about the release. Instead of merely repeating the 2013 stunt of a surprise album, the singer deftly exploited the expectation that she would do it again, with cryptic posts on social media


In February, ahead of her Super Bowl halftime appearance Beyoncé released the single "Formation," raising fan speculation about what might come next. After the performance Beyoncé announced the "Formation" World Tour. Always one to maximize brand synergy, she simultaneously released a line of athleisure clothing, Ivy Park, a partnership with TopShop and teased with a Saturday night special on HBO, which offered "Lemonade" for free on a weekend that also featured the season premiere of its signature show, "Game of Thrones."



The Drop


In a twist that played the personal off the professional, post premiere the new album and its accompanying visuals were made available to stream exclusively on Tidal, the music streaming service owned by her husband, Jay Z which has also hosted exclusives from Rihanna and Kanye West, both Jay-Z affiliated parts owners of the service.


The albums 12 tracks feature contributions from The Weeknd, James Blake, Jack White and Kendrick Lamar. Entering the Billboard chart at No. 1, Lemonade quickly established itself as one of the most critically acclaimed albums in years, breaking records left, right and center.


The Visuals


Heavy on Southern Gothic imagery, The film, which was shot primarily in New Orleans, is a deeply experimental statement that takes the form of a succession of music videos that are linked by the poetry of Somali-British poet Warsaw Shire and broken up by title cards that play on the Kubler-Ross model of grief - intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation - as Beyoncé addresses years of tabloid speculations about her marriage head-on.



Featured cameos include Serena Williams and Jay Z, with spoken-word interludes from Beyoncé, local residents and others. The videos were directed by Kahil Joseph, Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jonas Akerlund, Mark Romanek and Beyoncé.


A work of lush, exquisitely composed images and structural sophistication, "Lemonade" is a triumph of Design, cinematography and visual storytelling: incantatory, mysterious and overwhelmingly cathartic.



Cinematically, "Lemonade" reaches back to Maya Deren and "Singin in the Rain"; Kubrick and Terrence Malick. Most gratifying is the films obvious debt to Julie Dash, of the germinal 1970s African American film movement known as the L.A. Rebellion.


Track Listing


Pray You Catch Me

Hold Up

Don´t Hurt Yourself

Sorry

6 Inch

Daddy Lessons

Love Drought

Sandcastles

Forward

Freedom

All Night

Formation


The Wrap


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