Decoding Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’

Story highlights

Beyonce dropped a "visual album" Saturday

The internet was in its feelings

CNN  — 

Beyonce gave viewers a lot to process Saturday night when she released “Lemonade.”

The “visual album,” which aired on HBO, features videos for 12 of the 13 songs on her new album. It was a dreamy and powerful mix of visuals, spoken word, confessions and lyrics.

Add to that themes of love, betrayal, empowerment, tribalism and family, and it was enough to make heads spin.

Over on the internet the struggle has been real as folks try to sort it all out. But “Hold Up,” we are here to try and help you process your reaction in all its stages.

1. Denial and isolation

Beyonce opens with her solo, kneeling on a stage, dressed in black with a head wrap before she begins to sing from her single “Pray You Catch Me” – “You can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath.”

Uh oh.

Fans were sad about Bey wandering alone through a field, her “lonely ear/ Pressed against the walls of your world. There were immediately questions about her husband Jay Z’s role in all of it.

2. Anger

Soon we were deeply into the world of ticked off Beyonce.

In “Hold Up,” the singer strolls through the streets to a reggae beat opining “What’s worse, looking jealous or crazy?” Then she takes out a car window with a bat.

And wait, does that bat she’s swinging really say “Hot Sauce?” That’s the swag she’s had in her bag all along?!

The song “Sorry” is where things really start to get messy.

“He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair,” Beyonce sings.

“Lemonade” already has us mad at Jay, and then Rachel Roy gets added to the mix.

Roy is a fashion designer and ex-wife of Damon Dash, who is Jay Z’s former best friend and business partner. There was speculation in 2014 that Roy was somehow involved in the famous elevator altercation between Jay Z and Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles.

None of the principals involved have ever addressed those rumors. But Roy posted a photo of herself and some friends on Instagram with the caption: “Good hair don’t care, but we will take good lighting, for selfies, or self truths, always. live in the light #nodramaqueens.” The Instagram has been deleted.

Roy was almost immediately stung by Beyonce’s rabid fan base; the Bey Hive swarmed her social media accounts with criticism. It got so bad that confused fans were attacking TV chef Rachael Ray online.

Roy responded by tweeting: “I respect love, marriages, families and strength. What shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone, no matter what, is bullying, of any kind.”

3. Bargaining

On the song “6 inch,” we learn about a woman who has “Stars in her eyes/She fights for the power, keeping time.”

The internet rallied around Beyonce. One person tweeted “Beyoncé just won custody of the internet in the divorce.”

In one of the most personal moments of “Lemonade,” the singer appears with her husband in “Sandcastles.” She sings lyrics like, “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” made us suspect that it was even deeper than we thought.

Wait. Are she and Jay Z hugging? It might all be ok, guys!

4. Depression

Beyonce teamed up with singer James Blake for “Forward.” At less than a minute 20 seconds it’s the shortest song on the album, and it’s mournful.

Fans were also sad that it didn’t feature more Beyonce vocals.

5. Acceptance

Just when we were ready to collapse in a heap, here comes the triumphant Beyonce on “Freedom.” This tune features the hottest rapper in the game, Kendrick Lamar.

Suddenly Beyonce is sing-chanting “Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move/Freedom, cut me loose!/Singin’, freedom! Freedom! Where are you/Cause I need freedom too!/I break chains all by myself/Won’t let my freedom rot in hell/Hey! I’m a keep running/Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.”

It’s an anthem. It’s a call to action. Dammit, we are ready to ride for Queen Beyonce.

And still we rise.

By the time Beyonce sings, “Found the truth beneath your lies/ And true love never has to hide” in “All Night,” we are emotionally spent.

The next montage can’t come soon enough: It shows intimate moments from Beyonce and Jay Z’s private life. There they are at their wedding, with Beyonce’s nine-month pregnant belly and celebrating daughter Blue Ivy’s birthday.

It was a wild ride and good luck getting into “Formation” and learning the lyrics to all the songs on “Lemonade” before her tour kicks off on April 27.