Beyoncé, who in 2013 changed the rules for how pop superstars deliver music with the surprise simultaneous release of a self-titled album and corresponding videos, has returned with a follow-up in the same vein: “Lemonade,” the singer’s sixth solo album, arrived on Saturday night after the HBO premiere of an hourlong, conceptual short film based around the music.
In a twist that played the personal off the professional, the new album and its accompanying visuals — which describe, in sometimes brutal detail, the tribulations of Beyoncé as a scorned lover — were made available to stream Saturday night exclusively on Tidal, the music streaming service owned by her husband, Jay Z. The album is not yet for sale as a download through any digital retailers.
“Lemonade” is “based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing,” Tidal said in an announcement.
The album’s 12 tracks feature contributions from the Weeknd, James Blake, Jack White and Kendrick Lamar; the songs sample or draw on a varied slate of artists including Led Zeppelin, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Soulja Boy and Animal Collective, with production from Just Blaze, Diplo and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. The HBO special, which was shot primarily in New Orleans, featured cameos from Serena Williams and Jay Z, with spoken-word interludes from Beyoncé, local residents and others. The videos were directed by Kahlil Joseph, Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jonas Akerlund, Mark Romanek and Beyoncé.