Thursday, 10 November 2016


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Lemonade (Beyoncé album)

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Beyonce - Lemonade (Official Album Cover).png
Studio album by Beyoncé
ReleasedApril 23, 2016
Beyoncé chronology
Beyoncé: Platinum Edition /Beyoncé: More Only
Beyoncé studio album chronology
Singles from Lemonade
  1. "Formation"
    Released: February 6, 2016
  2. "Sorry"
    Released: May 3, 2016
  3. "Hold Up"
    Released: August 16, 2016
  4. "Freedom"
    Released: September 9, 2016
Lemonade is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Beyoncé. It was released on April 23, 2016, by Parkwood Entertainment and distributed through Columbia Records. The record is Beyoncé's second "visual album", following her eponymous 2013 record, and a concept album.[2] While its predecessor featured individual music videos for each track, Lemonade was accompanied upon its release by a one-hour film aired on HBO. Mainly an R&B album, Lemonade encompasses a variety of genresincluding popreggaebluesrockhip hopsoulfunkamericanacountrygospelelectronic and trap. It features guest vocals fromJames BlakeKendrick LamarThe Weeknd and Jack White. The album contains samples and interpolations of a number of hip hop and rock songs.[3]
The record was made available for online streaming on April 23 through the streaming service Tidal, which Beyoncé co-owns, and released for paid purchase through the service the following day. It was later launched for purchase by track or album to Amazon Music and the iTunes Store on April 25 and at physical retailers May 6. The record was widely acclaimed by critics, who praised it as Beyoncé's boldest and best crafted work to date. Lemonade debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 485,000 copies in its first week (653,000 with additional album-equivalent units) earning Beyoncé her sixth consecutive number-one album in the country. The album was supported by four singles: "Formation", "Sorry", "Hold Up" and "Freedom". In April 2016, Beyoncé embarked on the Formation World Tour to promote the album.




Beyoncé's performing on Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
On February 6, 2016, Beyoncé released "Formation" for free on the music streaming service TIDAL and its accompanying music video on her official YouTube.[4] The following day on February 7, 2016, Beyoncé performed "Formation" during her guest appearance at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.[5] Immediately after the performance, a commercial aired announcing The Formation World Tour, which kicks off in Miami on April 27, with the first pre-sales going on sale just two days after the announcement on February 9, 2016.[6]
Leading up to the tour announcement, Beyoncé was both praised and criticized over her new song and Black Panther-influenced costume for the Super Bowl halftime performance. As a result of this, the hashtags "#BoycottBeyonce" and "#IStandWithBeyonce" begun trending on social media platforms such as Twitter. A group of protesters also planned to stage an "anti-Beyoncé" rally outside of the NFL's headquarters in New York City on the day general sale of tickets went for sale.[7]However, the planned rally was met with zero protesters and instead dozens of Beyoncé supporters who held a counter-protest.[8]
The album title was inspired by Beyoncé's grandmother Agnéz Deréon, as well as her husband Jay Z's grandmother, Hattie White. At the end of track "Freedom", an audio recording of Hattie White heard speaking to a crowd at her 90th birthday party in December 2015 is played. During the speech, Hattie says "I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade."[9] Streaming service Tidal described the concept behind Lemonade as "every woman's journey of self-knowledge and healing."[10]


The album was accompanied by the release of a 60-minute film of the same name, which premiered on HBO on April 23, 2016.[11]Lemonade was divided into 11 chapters named Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, and Redemption.[12] The film uses poetry and prose written by expatriate Somali poet Warsan Shire; her poems which she adapted were "The Unbearable Weight of Staying", "Dear Moon", "How to Wear Your Mother's Lipstick", "Nail Technician as Palm Reader", and "For Women Who Are Difficult to Love".[13][14] It also features Ibeyi, Laolu Senbanjo, Amandla StenbergQuvenzhané WallisChloe x HalleZendaya, and Serena Williams.[15] The mothers of Trayvon Martin (Sybrina Fulton),Michael Brown (Lesley McFadden), and Eric Garner (Gwen Carr) are featured holding pictures of their deceased sons.[16][17] The film also samples work by Malcom X, specifically an excerpt from his speech "Who Taught You to Hate Yourself", which is featured on the track "Don't Hurt Yourself".[18] The HBO broadcast logged 787,000 viewers.[19]
In June 2016, Matthew Fulks sued Beyoncé, Sony, Columbia and Parkwood Entertainment for allegedly lifting elements of his short film, Palinoia, for Lemonade. The lawsuit specifically targets the trailer for the HBO special.[20] Fulks had accused her of stealing nine visual elements from Palinoia[21] The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed by New York federal judge Jed S. Rakoff, siding with the defendant.[22]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album features musicians Jack WhiteKendrick Lamar, and bassist Marcus Miller, and sampling from folk music collectors[clarification needed] John Lomax, Sr. and his son Alan Lomax on "Freedom". Beyoncé and her team reference the musical memories of all those periods[clarification needed] including a brass band, stomping blues-rock, ultraslow avant-R&B, preaching, a prison song (both collected by John and Alan Lomax), and the sound of the 1960s fuzz-tone guitar psychedelia (sampling the Puerto Rican band Kaleidoscope).[23]
The Washington Post called the album a "surprisingly furious song-cycle about infidelity and revenge",[24] referencing the classical compositional genre defined in German liederby SchumannSchubert and Brahms. The Chicago Tribune described the album as not just a mere grab for popular music dominance, rather it is a retrospective that allows the listener to explore Beyoncé's personal circumstances, with musical tones from the southern United States, a harkening back towards her formative years spent in Texas.[25]AllMusic wrote that Beyoncé "delights in her blackness, femininity, and Southern origin with supreme wordplay."[26] According to The A.V. Club, the tracks "encompass and interpolate the entire continuum of R&Brocksoulhip-hop, pop, and blues", accomplished by a deft precision "blurring eras and references with determined impunity."[27] The Guardian and Entertainment Weekly both noted that the album touches on country music,[28][29] and Entertainment Weekly noticed the use of avant-garde musical elements.Consequence of Sound wrote that the album's genres span "from gospel to rock to r&b to trap";[30] both Isaac Hayes and Andy Williams are sampled.[28] PopMatters noticed how the album was nuanced in its theme of anger and betrayal with vast swathes of the album bathed in political context; however, it is still a pop album at its essence with darker and praiseworthy tones.[31]


In order to promote the album, Beyoncé embarked on The Formation World Tour which visits countries in North America and Europe from April to October 2016.[32] Beyoncé performed "Freedom" with Kendrick Lamar as the opening number at the 2016 BET Awards on June 27.[33] At the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, Beyoncé performed a 16-minute medley of "Pray You Catch Me", "Hold Up", "Sorry", "Don't Hurt Yourself", and "Formation".[34] Knowles also performed "Daddy Lessons" with the Dixie Chicks at the 2016 CMAs. [35]


"Formation" was released as the album's lead single exclusively on Tidal on February 6, 2016, along with its accompanying music video. The following day, Beyoncé performed it at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show as part of her guest appearance at the event.[36] "Formation" peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[37] The album's second single, "Sorry" was serviced to rhythmic radios in the United States on May 3, 2016,[38] and its music video was uploaded on Vevo on June 22, 2016.[39] The single debuted and peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[40] The album's third single, "Hold Up" was first released to German and Britishcontemporary hit radios on May 12, 2016,[41][42] and later serviced to rhythmic contemporary radio in the United States on August 16, 2016.[43] "Hold Up" debuted at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[40] The music video for "Hold Up" was uploaded on Vevo on September 4, 2016.[44] The fourth single "Freedom" was sent to radio stations on September 9. It previously peaked at number 35.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[26]
The A.V. ClubA−[27]
The Daily Telegraph5/5 stars[47]
The Guardian4/5 stars[29]
The Independent5/5 stars[48]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[51]
Lemonade received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 92, based on 33 reviews.[46] AllMusic writer Andy Kellman felt that "the cathartic and wounded moments here resonate in a manner matched by few, if any, of Beyoncé's contemporaries."[26] In Spin,Greg Tate wrote that the album "is out to sonorously suck you into its gully gravitational orbit the old fashioned way, placing the burden of conjuration on its steamy witches’ brew of beats, melodies, and heavy-hearted-to-merry-pranksterish vocal seductions. In her mastery of carnal and esoteric mysteries, Queen Bey raises the spirits, sizzles the flesh, and rallies her troops."[52]
Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote that the album "feels like a success" and that Beyoncé sounded "genuinely imperious".[29] The Daily Telegraph writer Jonathan Bernstein felt it was her strongest work to date and "proves there's a thin line between love and hate."[47] Nekesa Moody from The Washington Post called the album a "deeply personal, yet ... a bold social and political statement as well".[54] Writing for The New York TimesJon Pareles praised Beyoncé's vocals and her courage to talk about subjects that affect so many people, and noted that "the album is not beholden to radio formats or presold by a single".[55] Greg Kot from the Chicago Tribune felt that "artistic advances" seem "slight" in context towards the record's "more personal, raw and relatable" aspects, where it came out as a "clearly conceived" piece of music, meaning it had a "unifying vision" for what may have lent itself to being "a prettily packaged hodgepodge".[25]
Reviewing the album in The IndependentEverett True wrote that it "is fiery, insurgent, fiercely proud, sprawling and sharply focused in its dissatisfaction."[48] Ray Rahman wrote for Entertainment Weekly that Beyoncé is way "too busy putting out her boldest, most ambitious, best album to date", declaring simply "middle fingers up."[28] Writing a review for Rolling StoneRob Sheffield opined that she affirmed her "superhero status" with this album.[51] Jillian Mapes of Pitchfork wrote that her pursuit of "realness" gives the album a certain "quality to it that also invites skepticism".[50] In The A.V. Club Annie Zaleski wrote that it was "yet another seismic step forward for Beyoncé as a musician."[27]
Shahzaib Hussain, writing for Clash, stated: "Lemonade is Beyoncé at her most benevolent, and her most unadulterated. Treating her blackness not as an affliction but a celebratory beacon, Lemonade is a long overdue, cathartic retribution."[56] In the NME, Larry Bartleet said the album was "sweet but with an edge".[49] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine wrote that the album "is her most lyrically and thematically coherent effort to date."[57] Maura Johnston of Time wrote that its tracks were "fresh yet instantly familiar" with an "over-the-top but intimate" sound.[58] Jamie Milton of DIY wrote that "there's so much more than an enthralling story to draw out of this all-slaying work", where "Beyoncé can count herself as a risk-taker breaking new ground, up there with the bravest."[59] Exclaim!'s Erin Lowers wrote that "If you've ever been handed lemons, you needLemonade."[60] Britt Julious of Consequence of Sound described the album to a "gift" Beyoncé has given to the listener that is "raw yet polished, beautiful yet ugly."[30] PopMatterswriter Evan Sawdey felt few albums could ever be considered "as bold, complex, or resolute as Lemonade,"[31] and the BBC's Mark Savage noted that Beyoncé had become an albums artist, with a range extending beyond that of radio play.[61] In 2016, it was reported that the University of Texas at San Antonio would be teaching a course on the album called "Black Women, Beyonce & Popular Culture."[62]


"Formation" won in three categories at the 2016 BET Awards for Video of the Year, the Centric Award, and the Viewers Choice Award.[63] The Lemonade film was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Variety Special and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special. From the four categories, Beyoncé was nominated in the two mentioned.[64] The album's visuals received 11 nominations at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. They included Breakthrough Long Form Video for LemonadeVideo of the YearBest Pop VideoBest DirectionBest Editing, and Best Cinematography for "Formation", Best Female Video and Best Art Direction for "Hold Up", and Best Choreography for "Sorry" and "Formation".[65] Beyoncé went on to win eight of her nominations, including Video of the Year and Breakthrough Long Form Video.[66] She received two nominations at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards Japan for Best Album of the Year for Lemonade and Best Female Video International for "Formation", eventually winning for Best Album of the Year.[67][68][69]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Lemonade debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 485,000 copies in its first week (653,000 with additional album-equivalent units). Subsequently, she broke the record she previously tied with DMX, by becoming the first artist in the chart's history to have their first six studio albums debut at number one.[70] In the same week, Beyoncé became the first female to chart 12 or more songs on the US Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, with every song on the album debuting on the chart. She passed the previously held record of 11 by Taylor Swift's Speak Now album.[71] Additionally, Lemonade was streamed 115 million times via Tidal, setting a record for the most-streamed album in a single week by a female artist in history.[72] The album slipped from number one to number two in its second week, selling 196,000 copies (321,000 with additional equivalent-album units). It remained at number two in its third week selling 153,000 copies (201,000 album equivalent units). Lemonade was certified platinum by the RIAA in June 2016. As of July 2016, it has sold 1.2 million copies in the United States.[73] In Canada, the album debuted at number one with sales of 33,000 copies.[74]
The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart selling 73,000 copies in its first week of release, with 10,000 equivalent sales (14% of the total sales) accounting for streaming, marking the largest ever for a number-one album since the chart included streaming.[75] The album marked the singer's third number-one album on that chart and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on September 9, 2016 for shipment of 300,000 copies.[75][76] All of the album's tracks also debuted in the Top 100 of the Official Singles Chart in the UK.[77] In Australia, Lemonade sold 20,490 digital copies to debut at the top spot and become Beyoncé's second consecutive number one album in that country.[78] It received a platinum certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 70,000 copies.[79]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[80]
Lemonade – Disc one (Audio)
1."Pray You Catch Me"  
  • Garrett
  • Knowles
  • Jeremy McDonald
2."Hold Up"  
3."Don't Hurt Yourself(featuring Jack White)
  • White
  • Knowles
  • Derek Dixie[a]
  • Gordon
  • Rhoden
  • Knowles
5."6 Inch(featuring The Weeknd)
  • DannyBoyStyles
  • Ben Billions
  • Knowles
  • Boots
  • Dixie[b]
6."Daddy Lessons"  
  • Knowles
  • Dixie[a]
  • Delicata[a]
7."Love Drought"  
  • Dean
  • Knowles
  • Knowles
  • Berry II
9."Forward(featuring James Blake)
  • Blake
  • Knowles
  • Blake
  • Knowles
10."Freedom(featuring Kendrick Lamar)
11."All Night"  
  • Diplo
  • Knowles
  • King Henry[a]
  • Mike Will Made It
  • Knowles
  • Pluss[a]
Total length:
Lemonade – Disc two (Visual)
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer.
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer / director.
  • "Hold Up" features background vocals by Melo-X.
  • "Don't Hurt Yourself" features background vocals by Ruby Amanfu.
  • "Sorry" features background vocals by Chrissy Collins.
  • "6 Inch" features additional vocals by Belly.
  • "Freedom" features background vocals by Arrow Benjamin.
  • "All Night" features background vocals by Diplo and King Henry.
Sample credits[80]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from AllMusic.


Chart (2016)Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[81]1
Australian Urban Albums (ARIA)[82]1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[83]9
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[84]1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[85]9
Brazilian DVDs (ABPD)[86]1
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[87]1
Croatian Foreign Albums (HDU)[88]1
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[89]1
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[90]3
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[91]1
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[92]4
French Albums (SNEP)[93]7
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[94]3
Greek Albums (IFPI)[95]7
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[96]3
Irish Albums (IRMA)[97]1
Italian Albums (FIMI)[98]5
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[99]43
Mexican Albums (AMPROFON)[100]6
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[101]1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[102]1
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[103]2
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[104]1
Scottish Albums (OCC)[105]1
South Korean Albums (Gaon)[106]14
South Korean International Albums (Gaon)[107]1
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[108]2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[109]1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[110]2
Taiwanese Albums (Five Music)[111]1
UK Albums (OCC)[112]1
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[113]1
US Billboard 200[114]1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[115]1

Certifications and sales[edit]

RegionCertificationCertified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[79]Platinum70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[116]Gold15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[117]Platinum80,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[118]Platinum40,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[119]Gold7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[76]Platinum308,000[120]
United States (RIAA)[121]Platinum1,200,000[122]
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

VariousApril 23, 2016StreamingParkwood[80]
April 24, 2016Digital download
PolandMay 6, 2016 Sony Music[124]
United States
  • Parkwood
  • Columbia

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