Entertainment & Arts

Beyonce's new album Lemonade praised by critics

Beyonce Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lemonade is Beyonce's sixth album

Beyonce's latest album, Lemonade, has been largely praised by critics following its surprise Saturday release.

The singer held a one-hour promotional special on the HBO TV network and unbeknown to fans released Lemonade on Tidal following the show.

Writing in the Telegraph, Jonathan Bernstein said: "Lemonade is by far Beyonce's strongest album."

The album focuses on deeply personal themes such as infidelity.

This, along with the fact Beyonce has called the album a "visual" and "conceptual" project has led many to speculate about who the strong lyrics refer to.

'Most profane'

Rumours of unhappiness in her marriage to Jay-Z have led people to suggest her husband is the most likely candidate.

The singer has also made a short film to accompany each track, with Jay-Z making an onscreen appearance in one too.

Bernstein said: "Lemonade is Beyonce at her most profane, political and personal."

Focusing on the album's often very strong language, Bernstein said: "Beyonce doesn't just drop F-bombs, she carpet-bombs them."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 'Beyonce is at a level where she defines what the marketplace is,' said Daniel D'Addario from Time

"By the time the album's third song, Don't Hurt Yourself, a collaboration with Jack White, begins.... it becomes clear to even the most oblivious and dunderheaded audience member what's happening here," he said.

"In 2014, gossip site TMZ leaked security camera footage of Jay-Z being punched slapped and kicked by Solange Knowles while Beyonce stood calmly by, acting like the fracas wasn't happening. Lemonade is Beyonce's version of those punches, slaps and kicks."

Daniel D'Addario from Time said there were elements of Lemonade and its accompanying films that did not quite live up to his expectations.

Nonetheless D'Addario said he had to acknowledge Lemonade showed the singer's talent and power.

"Beyonce is at a level where she defines what the marketplace is," he said.

"She's buoyed by the sheer brio of an individual who knows that she cannot fail - and though particular components of Lemonade fell short for this viewer, its unabashed confidence carry it so far past the finish line that few other pop-world contemporaries are in sight."

'Genuinely imperious'

Lemonade features 12 tracks with titles including Pray You Catch Me, Love Drought and Freedom. The album's styles range from the powerful love ballads we know Beyonce for through to country music, complete with brass band horns.

Bernard Zuel of the Sydney Herald said: "Beyonce's Lemonade is a powerful mix of music, Jay-Z commentary and provocation."

Zuel described the music and visuals as both "astonishingly rich and varied" and "as part of a package that could be even better than her career redefining... album-with-visuals of late 2014".

In the Guardian, Alexis Petridis said: "On Freedom, and indeed for much of Lemonade, Beyonce sounds genuinely imperious... very much like a woman not to be messed with."

And for USA Today, Maeve McDermott and Patrick Ryan gave a track-by-track analysis with McDermott summing up when reviewing final track Formation.

"Lemonade isn't the overtly political work some were expecting, so there's no better placement for Formation than at the album's coda, ending a record that traces the arc of a relationship with a definitive statement of self."

Lemonade is Beyonce's first full-length album since her self-titled release in late 2014. But the theme of that album was very different - it dealt with passion and monogamy.

Lemonade is currently only available to fans through the online streaming service Tidal, which is run by Jay-Z.

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