Special to The Times
by Je'Don Hollloway-Talley
Last week, Beyoncé set the universe on fire.
Queen Bey and HBO combined efforts to make the world “stop” and then “carry on,” breaking the Internet! Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” the superstar entertainer’s second surprise album debut, singlehandedly rewrote the rules of the marketing strategy of surprise and delight. A few artists have been brave enough to undergo this attempt, yet it has never been done with the caliber of Beyoncé’s artistic genius.
In December 2013, Beyoncé released her eponymous fifth studio album, comprised of 14 songs and 17 videos, exclusively on iTunes. And her latest release adheres to the same structure, allowing her audience to journey through her mind via a myriad of breathtaking cinematic pieces, soul-bearing poetry, and gut-wrenching spiritual anthems. What separates Beyoncé from other artists, however, are her dynamic presentation, showmanship, and exclusivity.
Beyonce’s sixth studio album—first released exclusively on Tidal, the subscription music app she and her husband, Jay-Z, own—features 12 songs and 12 intricate videos woven together with poesy interludes and an opulent Southern landscape. The natural grandeur of Spanish moss trees, the decadence of Old World New Orleans plantation-style mansions, and 19th century–inspired costuming blend perfectly to serve the world a tall glass of fresh “Lemonade.”