"Crazy In Love" never looked any further away than it does right now
When Beyonce dropped "Formation" in February, it led to countless reactionary think-pieces (including our own), as the pop world braced itself for one of the most popular entertainers on the planet to get all political on us.
Over the weekend, she performed a semi-Beyonce (because at least she gave us a heads up this time), and released Lemonade, complete with the hour-long visual accompaniment (which you can watch in full here), and things weren't exactly what we were expecting. But when it comes to Beyonce, that's probably to be expected.
There are some hints to a more political leaning undertone, especially on the likes of "Freedom", featuring a blazing rap verse from Kendrick Lemar. But as placement of "Formation" on the album, closing it out, feeling almost like a bonus track and reminiscent of absolutely nothing else on Lemonade, there is a completely different dialogue happening here.
Album opener "Pray You Catch Me" has Beyonce listening in to someone, hoping she'll either catch him in the act of cheating, or he'll catch her trying to catch him, which will spurn on the conversation of his possible infidelity.
And practically every single song on the rest of the album features some fairly explicit lines about her husband's infidelity:
"Can't you see there's no other man above you / What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you." ("Hold Up")
"Something don't feel right because it ain't right, especially coming up after midnight / I smell your secrets and I'm not too perfect to ever feel this worthless / How did it come down to this, going through your call list? / I don't wanna lose my pride but I'ma fuck me up a bitch." ("Hold Up")
"Who the fuck do you think I am? You ain't married to no average bitch, boy." ("Don't Hurt Yourself")
"I am the dragon breathing fire / Beautiful man, I'm the lion / Beautiful man, I know you're lying." ("Don't Hurt Yourself")
"I smell that fragrance on your Louis V, boy / Just give my fat ass a big kiss, boy / Tonight I'm fucking up all your shit, boy." ("Don't Hurt Yourself")
"This is your final warning / You know I give you life / If you try this shit again you gon' lose your wife." ("Don't Hurt Yourself")
"Looking at my watch, he shoulda been home / Today I regret the night I put that ring on / He always got them fucking excuses." ("Sorry")
"My daddy warned me about men like you / He said, "Baby girl, he's playing you." ("Daddy Lessons")
"I've always been committed, I've been focused / I always paid attention, been devoted, tell me what did I do wrong?" ("Love Drought")
"Ten times out of nine, I know you're lying / But nine times outta ten, I know you're trying." ("Love Drought")
"Are you aware you're my lifeline, are you trying to kill me? / If I wasn't me, would you still feel me? / Like on my worst day? Or am I not thirsty enough?" ("Love Drought")
"Pictures snatched out the frame / Bitch, I scratched out your name and your face / What is it about you that I can't erase, baby?" ("Sandcastles")
"We built sandcastles that washed away / I made you cry when I walked away / And although I promised that I couldn't stay, baby / Every promise don't work out that way" ("Sandcastles")
"Found the truth beneath your lies / And true love never has to hide" ("All Night")
Thinking back over recent years, trying to find an in-depth, personal interview with Beyonce is difficult to come by. For someone so constantly in the public eye, what's remarkable is just how private she has managed to maintain her private life.
In an age where music leaks are a very common occurrence - just ask Kanye, Madonna or Drake - the fact that Beyonce has managed not once but twice to record an entire album of songs, all with accompanying music videos, and not have either of them leaked is a massive achievement.
And it appears that this is something that Beyonce has now superimposed into her private life, too. Just about everyone has seen the footage of Beyonce, her sister Solange and Jay-Z on that elevator, but we're still none the wiser as to why it was Solange attacked her brother-in-law so savagely.
Perhaps Lemonade has shed some light on that subject, with this line from "Sorry": "He only want me when I'm not on there / He better call Becky with the good hair."
The internet quickly went ablaze trying to figure out who "Becky" was, with initial aim taken to stylist Rachel Roy (who posted and then quickly removed an Instagram pic referring to herself as 'Good hair don't care'), which then - somewhat hilariously - spilled on to TV chef Rachel Ray getting backlash due to an innocent misspelling, and the latest rumour involves Rita Ora, who on the same night Lemonade was release, allegedly posted a picture wearing a necklace with the letter "J" around her neck.
Rita Ora: Becky With The Good Hair! . . By now you've heard all about Beyonce's album and all the name calling that followed. Well, if you're #beyhive , then know that Rachel Roy is not "Becky with the good hair!" And no that does not exclude the possibility of Jay messing with Rachel; it just means Rachel is not as important to Jay Z as she'd like to think. . . Rita Ora is more likely to be Becky! And her picture points us in her direction. In this snapchat clip which she has deleted, Rita dons a yellow bikini embellished with lemonades! Guess whose album is named lemonade? And if you think that pendant was not intentionally flipped to look like a "J" maybe you need lesson 101 on how sidechicks roll! I don't see a twist in that chain. Rita knew what Bey's album would be called. The clues are too loud and one too may to be coincidence! . . There is a possibility that Jay is indeed in love with Rita and the bish knows her power. Too bad... Cos there aint gonna be two queen Beys! Over to you Beyhive. #lemonade #beyonce #jayz #ritaora #rachelroy #rihanna #bey #queenbey
A photo posted by THE TEA ROOM NAIJA (@thetearoomnaija) on
"Crazy In Love" couldn't feel any further away, considering that Beyonce's most recent album had the loved up tracks like "Drunk In Love" and "Partition" going on.
But is this all just a bit? Are we really getting a glimpse into the diary of Beyonce, or is this merely the persona she's taking on for this album. We had the sex-bot alter-ego for I Am Sasha Fierce, so is Lemonade tale of infidelity merely a fictional story being told that is getting one long-read article after another (like this one) trying to decipher it?
Beyonce, Jay-Z and everyone in their publicity camp have been on radio silence since Lemonade dropped, and knowing how close they keep their cards to their chest, we'll probably never know exactly what was going on.
At least, perhaps, until Beyonce releases her next album...