In 2013, Beyoncé brought about a paradigm shift in way high-profile music is delivered to the streaming-era masses when she simultaneously released her self-titled album and a set of corresponding videos. The megastar continued this trend with last night’s release of “Lemonade,” her sixth solo album, immediately after HBO aired the hour-long “visual album” accompanying it.
“Lemonade” marks her third HBO special after 2013’s “Life Is but a Dream” and 2014’s “On the Run,” a concert special with husband Jay Z. Mainly shot in and around New Orleans, the highly cinematic experience features Quvenzhané Wallis, Serena Williams and the mothers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, among others. Seven directors received credits for the videos: Kahlil Joseph, Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jonas Åkerlund, Mark Romanek and Beyoncé herself. The Weeknd, James Blake, Jack White and Kendrick Lamar are featured on the album’s 12 tracks in one form or another.
As you might have guessed, the internet is abuzz with the news. Beyoncé rarely gives one-on-one interviews anymore, but has stoked curiosity by cryptically hinting to “Lemonade’s” existence throughout the year — no one knew exactly what it was until it appeared. The album is currently a Tidal exclusive.
For an earlier example of Beyoncé’s cinematic endeavors, watch the “Dreamgirls” trailer: