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BEY SERVES HER LEMONADE

The artists that resonate with us most powerfully are those who successfully channel the hurt, joy, betrayal, love, and accompanying epiphanies inside their own lives in a way that becomes a melodic muse to our own life experience. It’s what bonds us to them. That is the essence of music’s real power.  Feelings.

To say Beyoncé is deep in the feels with Lemonade, A Visual Album (Columbia), is an understatement. She purges her story in ten raw steps that chronicle the stages of grief and resurrection inside the fractured, fragile relationships with the men in her life, and shares the strength and knowing, support and wisdom she absorbs from the women in her world to survive it all and more importantly, hold shit together.

There’s not a female on the planet who won’t be able to relate to this album; how life serves up those bitter lemons and the instinctual determination we all have to make Lemonade out of it. She’s pouring out her truth, and it will connect big time.

But what this particular artist has also consistently demonstrated is the boldness of invention. First, with how albums are set up (zero) and released (surprise!). Now with this project, challenging convention on how albums are presented: with visual context.  

Bey helped lay the initial foundations back in 2013, a climate dominated by piracy and leaks. She solved the problem by running up on us like a bandit to preserve the integrity of her release. Now the world moves at light speed, and has evolved even further to contain Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat. It’s fiercely visual. Wrapped in short, spastic moments, packed with vibe and authenticity.

But notice what's never compromised is the album experience itself, and the virtue of that journey. We are not denied the whole. This is her layered musical message, which simply couldn’t be conveyed with the same intensity in pure sonic form. The audience has evolved past that anyway, which is why Lemonade was the launching point. 

Aren’t the best records exactly that anyway? A complete story containing some emotional odyssey? 

At the end of the day the truth, to quote Prince, is "ALBUMS STILL MATTER."

These artists are fighting like hell to keep that spirit intact, despite the music business’ constant refusal to acknowledge that the audience will still buy an EXPERIENCE, an emotion, a connection. 

With the HBO/Lemonade presentation, Bey has, along with a spectacular hive of accomplished creatives in filmmaking, art direction, costume and choreography, created a lasting visual experience that we will want to “collect” or in this context, “Stream.” It is no different than the way '70s rock groups used to spend time and money making the most fantastic album covers and inside cover visuals for their vinyl releases. To accompany the music and help push along the total vision.  

Just because that specific presentation doesn’t prevail anymore, does NOT mean the modern album can’t exist inside the shell of another, and even more dynamic, package. Digital albums have traditionally been sterile; they don’t have the touch/feel of a physical product. So Bey made you feel something another way. 

Queen B is setting yet another prodigious example by laying different groundwork. 

Bravo.  

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