This week, we’re diving into Beyoncé’s world-changing visual album/way of life LEMONADE. Jeff and I are thrilled to be joined once again by guest panelist (and noted Beyoncé scholar) Taryn Cheal. Disclaimers first: we speak about “Beyoncé” and “Jay-Z” in the context of the work, and we are primarily talking about them as characters in this story. Any discussion of their lives as it relates to the art is meant to be about the story she is telling. Also, a big disclaimer—none of us are Black women, which is important because we want to acknowledge that this is who the album is explicitly FOR. We encourage you to seek out writing and podcasts on this topic by Black women.
Here are a few places to start. The outstanding ladies at the #GirlGang did us a grand favour cataloguing this ginormous list of Black women’s writing on Lemonade. Work through it at your leisure. We also recommend two other podcasts who took on the topic. Check out the For Colored Nerds latest podcast episode on Lemonade, as well as the LemonSLAYED episode from The Unfriendly Black Hotties.
Ok, let’s get into it. We take a good long look at the narrative structure of the album and the interplay between the music, film, and poetry (from Warsan Shire) that binds this incredible piece of art together. We spend some time on the format of this album, and why that’s different from what’s usually done. This is an album where the visuals are as important as the audio track (especially if you want to have a full understanding of the narrative being told).
From there we move into a rundown of all of the songs in the album. I’m particularly HERE for “Hold Up” because of a bat named Hot Sauce, women metaphorically smashing up the patriarchy, and because of a film aesthetic that combines Immortan Joe and Quentin Tarantino. Here’s the link I mentioned about the “Hold Up” video section as a potential copy from another artist.
Jeff has some big time thoughts about “Sorry”, and I learn why the gals are all on a party bus. I also have big time thoughts about Serena Williams being Beyoncé’s hype girl. I’m HERE for a thighs-first entrance and eye-rolling fit for a Queen. “6 Inch” is up next, and Jeff educates two women about #ladybusiness.
As we move through the album, Taryn shares the feels she has about one of her favourite songs, “Daddy Lessons.” It’s a deeply autobiographical song for Bey, and Taryn is particularly thrilled to hear that glorious mix that gives Beyoncé her Texas Bama identity.
Jay-Z enters the picture in “Sandcastles,” and the song style returns to a sound that Beyoncé featured in many of her previous albums, and Jeff is impressed with the maturity in her voice and songwriting. We finish up with “Forward”, “Freedom”, and “All Night” and I’m angry that my hard heart was cracked open by Blue Ivy and her dad playing around on a football field. Taryn has things to say about the brief appearance of Beyoncé’s pregnant belly, and we all agree that this is a narrative achievement the likes of which we have never seen before. Now let’s get in formation.
We’re thrilled as usual to bring you our Kool-aid picks for the week. Taryn is all about Game of Thrones Season 5 commentaries (it’s a deep cut, she knows). She is particularly delighted by Gwendoline Christie (who plays the great Brienne of Tarth), who favourited one of our tweets last week and gave us all the feels.
Jeff is drinking in Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix late-night show called Chelsea. She’s doing very interesting things with format and style, and Jeff found her debut to be frank, funny, and interesting. We welcome another woman to the late-night landscape, and praise her for bringing the cast of Captain America: Civil War into her first week.
And my Kool-Aid pick for this week is Jane the Virgin, which I finally got around to watching after hearing near-universal praise for it from many of my favourite writers. For me, its sensibility is Gilmore Girls meets Pushing Daisies, and I’m thrilled with how progressive, diverse, funny, sweet, and kind the show is. Also, Gina Rodriguez is so good, guys.
Thanks so much for joining us this week! Don’t want to miss an episode? Go ahead and subscribe on iTunes or on Google Play! Check back on June 9th for our next episode (all about So You Think You Can Dance).