No matter what you make of the real story behind the album, I think it’s undeniable that Lemonade is an incredibly moving piece of work.
I hadn’t been a big follower of Beyoncé’s music before. Of course I knew some songs–has anyone not heard Single Ladies?? But then the Super Bowl halftime show happened and Formation came out and I was totally smitten. The visuals are so exciting I was immediately enthralled. I love the settings, the fashion, the shooting style…and then on top of that it’s a really great, catchy, multi-layered song. (Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation!) I watched it 3 times immediately and then shared it with others later that week and have probably gone back and watched it 10 more times since.
Formation got me interested in Beyoncé’s creative team and how she puts her videos together because it’s so varied in its styles–from the hair to the makeup to the outfits to the settings… There’s a great BTS video for the making of 2009’s Sweet Dreams that shows every outfit, including how she got to use a vintage Thierry Mugler gold body suit that had been on display at the Met. If you’re Beyoncé you get to wear that. If you’re anyone else, you get to be inspired by it.
One of my favorite looks from the Formation video is the red dress she’s wearing while sitting atop the sinking police car, shown here in The Guardian’s coverage of Formation fashion. Turns out it’s a blouse and skirt from Gucci’s 2016 Spring line–which is amazing and images from the ad campaign became my phone wallpaper all during SXSW.
So then, 10 days ago, after the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones, there was Lemonade, begging to be watched.
Before midnight I had watched it all the way through and some parts 2 or 3 times. I tweeted with friends about it after it was gone. And the next day I bought it on iTunes and started listening to the music. I had my immediate favorites as one does with any new album but in the following days of listening and taking a break from listening, and watching again and listening again, and reading about it and listening to podcasts about it, there’s not one song on there that hasn’t gotten its hooks in me (har har).
I woke up this morning with “pray you catch me listening” running through my head. Fitting, because I still am.