Written by: Allison Del Fium

Lemonade is about a lot of things.

It is about overcoming obstacles as a woman. More specifically, however, it is about overcoming obstacles as a woman of color.

Beyoncé has restored faith that even in the face of despair or defeat, we as humans can take pain and create it into something beautiful. This is what Lemonade has achieved.

The album, which is undeniably the most interesting release of 2016 thus far, showed the world a different side to an artist we claim we know. Beyoncé opened up about pain, but not only hers. The agony she so emotionally and creatively expresses is the ache and the scars women have experienced for centuries.

This album is not one-dimensional. It is not just an anthem to the question of true love or to women who have been cheated on. Lemonade is a musical symbol that black women have a voice and that no one, including their lovers, should undermine their identity.

The album takes us on a journey and contains an overall tribute to black women both historically and in this very moment. As one section of the album states, “ the most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

The hour-long film, which includes beautiful poetry, scenery, costumes, lighting, and about anything else you could image, takes its audience on a journey like none other. Lemonade has created a new way of experiencing music, one that is redefining the art of the industry.

Although Lemonade is a huge leap in a new direction for music, it simultaneously attempts to preserve the way popular music once was. The album strays away from just a bundle of cliché pop songs that many listeners have become accustomed to. Instead front to back, it provides tracks created with delicacy, craft, and musicianship.

Good music entertains us. Great music, on the other hand, makes us think. And to put it shortly, Lemonade is not a “sit down and just enjoy” type of album. This album makes you question and above all makes you feel.

The visual album, which is divided into eleven chapters, represents eleven stages of emotional searching. Starting with intuition and ending with redemption, each chapter is just as powerful as the last. From the ballad “Pray You Catch Me” to the melodic track “Sandcastles” this album does not hold back lyrically and musically.

The album also showcases Beyoncé as a versatile artist. One track that proves her ability to dive into multiple genres seamlessly is “Don’t Hurt Yourself”. The piece, which features musical genius Jack White, strays away from her more upbeat sound and puts Beyoncé in a light many have not seen before. The song contains an edgier rock feel as White provides spitting vocals and dirty guitars. It becomes clear Beyoncé is not afraid to step out of the box and has no plans of limiting herself creatively.

Following this edgier tune, Beyoncé brings a track that is sure to be a summer hit. “Sorry” a song that some might call the “middle finger” anthem is a testimony to the stage in one’s life of moving on and simply not giving a damn.

Yet, one song seems to fall short on the album. “6 Inch” provides the “sexy” element to the album and features The Weeknd. Although this duo might seem promising, the track seems to fall short compared to the rest of the album. The typical pop song lacks substance and stands out as a weak link compared other tracks on the album.

Yet, “6 Inch” is a rarity on the album.

Tracks such as “Forward” and “All Night” once again show strong lyrical content and melodic lines. Both songs capture a powerful element. The vocals, sung organically, give the listener a sense of the heartache talked about within the song.

Beyoncé also took the opportunity to spotlight on the album’s concept and showcase black culture in an artistic and prideful way. With the song “Freedom” featuring the highly respected Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé presents a powerful anthem of black culture. Through the song’s main lyrics, “Freedom! Freedom! Where are you? Cause I need freedom too. I break chains all by myself. Won’t let my freedom rot in hell,” Beyoncé continues to address the struggles as a black woman throughout history and also in today’s society. The stomping beat and soulful singing takes its listeners to the crossroad of black culture and the music they have brought this nation since the beginning.

Front to back Lemonade is a journey. And although there are layers to this story we might never fully understand, it is a work everyone can appreciate. Every musical and visual detail was given such delicate thought. This album is sure to redefine the way we enjoy music. Lemonade raises the bar of what it means to be a creative figure within the music industry.