IBTimes Rating: 4

American pop singer Beyonce has a knack of surprising fans by dropping new songs and albums unannounced. She surprised everyone again by dropping her sixth studio album, "Lemonade," recently without any announcements.

It is a 12-track album that sees the singer collaborating with Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, James Blake and Jack White. Beyonce co-wrote the songs with the likes of Kevin Garrett, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Malik Yusef, Timothy Thomas and others. She released an hour-long eponymous film on HBO to coincide with the album's release on April 23, 2016.

"Lemonade" is perhaps one of the most personal albums Beyonce has ever written. Lyrically, it generally talks about romantic quarrels, betrayal, jealousy, reconciling with one's romantic interest and other themes based on relationship issues. An underlying aspect of the album is its attempt to convey socio-political messages on slavery, riots and social issues faced by women through lyrical references and a Malcom X speech.

We got a brief introduction to the album with "Formation," its lead single released in February. It is a bouncy track that takes influences from mainstream pop, RnB and hip hop music. In fact, the whole album is sonically based on the three genres with bits and pieces of rock n' roll, country, soul and dancehall cropping up here and there. But if you think that the whole album is as bouncy and dancey as "Formation," think again. Some songs, such as "Sandcastles," "Love Drought" and "All Night," have Beyonce singing emotional tunes, sometimes in whispers and sometimes with powerful vocals. As advertised, "Lemonade" has visual appeal. Its music arrangement, when combined with the lyrics, can inspire emotions and visions related to the theme in the listener's mind.

Overall, although an album like "Lemonade" was not expected from her at this stage of her career, it actually establishes the fact that Beyonce is one of the most powerful female singers of this age.

"Don't Hurt Yourself," "Forward," "Sandcastles" and "Freedom" are the highlights of the album for me.

Stream the album here.

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