12 reasons Beyoncé’s ‘LEMONADE’ still slays… 12 months later

April 23, 2016.

One year ago today, Beyoncé unleashed her industry-shaking visual album, LEMONADE. The album was delivered via a 65-minute-long film that found the album’s 12 songs woven together by striking visuals and poetic, spoken-word musings.

Indeed, twelve months later, there is a lot to be said about LEMONADE. Below, I’ve put together a list of my favorite spoken word lines alongside selected lyrics from the accompanying song, for each of the album’s twelve “chapters”. Each of these 12 selections showcase the importance of LEMONADE‘s thematic message. Essentially, the album’s story arc is summarized in these 12 paired quotes.

1. Poignantly acknowledging the curse that plagues herself and other Black women, Intuition finds Beyoncé exploring her instinct that her state of conflict feels all too familiar:

“You remind me of my father, a magician/ Able to exist in two places at once.”
“You can taste the dishonesty/ It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier” — “Pray You Catch Me”

2. In Denial, Beyoncé struggles to accept the reality of being cheated when she feels like she’s given him her all:

“I bathed in bleach and plugged my menses with pages of the Holy Book/ But, still inside me coiled deep was the need to know… are you cheating on me?”
“How did it come down to this? Scrolling through your call list/ I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’mma fuck me up a bitch” — “Hold Up”

3. Anger consumes Queen B, and she lashes out in a fit of rage and braggadocio:

“I think of lovers as trees/ Growing to and from one another/ Searching for the same light/ Why can’t you see me?/ Everyone else can.”
“Who the fuck do you think I is?/ You ain’t married to no average bitch, boy” — “Don’t Hurt Yourself”

4. In response to her antagonist’s own seeming lack of Apathy, Beyoncé responds with a similarly unapologetically sorry-not-sorry rampage:

“Rest in peace, my true love, who I took for granted/ Most bomb pussy, who because of me, sleep evaded.”
“He always got them fucking excuses/ I pray to the Lord you reveal what his truth is” — “Sorry”

5. Consumed with the Emptiness that often follows a break-up, she entertains the notions of meaningless connections while donning 6 inch heels:

“Grief, sedated by orgasm/ Orgasm, heightened by grief.”
“Six inch heels, she walked in the club like nobody’s business/ Goddamn, she murdered everybody and I was her witness” — “6 Inch”

6. Reflecting on the cause for his infidelity, Beyoncé assigns Accountability to the effects of patriarchy, a.k.a. daddy issues:

“Do his eyes close like doors?/ Are you a slave to the back of his head?/ Am I talking about your husband, or your father?”
“My daddy warned me about men like you/ He said, ‘Baby girl, he’s playing you, he’s playing you'” — “Daddy Lessons.”

7. After rationalizing the circumstances, she makes the first steps toward Reformation amidst a love drought:

“Why are you afraid of love? You think it’s not possible for someone like you.”
“Ten times out of nine, I know you‘re lying/ But nine times out of ten, I know you’re trying/ So I’m trying to be fair/ And you’re trying to be there and to care” — “Love Drought”

8. Next, comes Forgivenessafter deciding not to allow the curse to consume her any longer. Beyoncé forgives him, but not before reminding him that he broke their promise. Luckily for him, she’ll break her own promise of leaving:

“Do you remember being born?/ Are you thankful for the hips that cracked, the deep velvet of your mother/ …and her mother/ …and her mother?/ There is a curse that will be broken.”
“And your heart is broken ’cause I walked away/ Show me your scars and I won’t walk away/ And I know I promised that I couldn’t stay, baby/ Every promise don’t work out that way” –“Sandcastles”

9. Following forgiveness, they must move forward, allowing the Resurrection of their love in all it’s manifestations:

“You are terrifying/ And strange/ And beautiful.”
“Go back to your sleep in your favorite spot just next to me” — “Forward”

 

10. Despite life’s challenges, one must not lose Hope on the journey to freedom, because hope can sometimes be all we have to pass onto the next generation; or it can be turned into action:

“The nail technician pushes my cuticles back……turns my hand over, stretches the skin on my palm and says: ‘I see your daughters, and their daughters.'”
“I break chains all by myself/ Won’t let my freedom rot in hell” — “Freedom”

11. Redemption is the last step in the healing process, and here Beyoncé embraces it with a jug of lemonade and an all-night romance:

“Grandmother, the alchemist/ You spun gold out of this hard life/ Conjured beauty from the things left behind/ Found healing where it did not live/ Discovered the antidote, in your own kitchen/ Broke the curse with your own two hands/ You passed these instructions down to your daughter/ Who then passed it down to her daughter.”
“With every tear came redemption/ And my torturer became my remedy” — “All Night”

12. Finally, Beyoncé calls for her ladies to unify, in Formationin order to battle the many obstacles that come along with being a woman:

“Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation/ You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation/ Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.” — “Formation”

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