Pairing Beer and Music 4.) *Grammys Edition* Lemonade, Beyoncé  2016

*Disclaimer* I am not a Beyoncé fan. The only song I have heard by Beyoncé is her 2008 single Single Ladies. From my understanding Lemonade is meant to be accompanied with its music videos, so if you want the full Lemonade experience download Adblock and get on youtube. Or ride the TIDAL wave. 

I chose to pair beer with this album because it has multiple Grammy nominations, including best album. In keeping with the times, I think this is an appropriate pairing.

Because I have such a limited knowledge of Beyoncé this is in some ways a more pure pairing. With my past pairings, I have had the privilege of knowing large amounts of trivia on the artist, thus influencing the beers I choose. This album will be paired with beer based solely on the music, rather than any outside information.

This Album is a culmination of things, but the themes that are most present are infidelity, revenge, and reconciliation. Therefore,

 

This Album goes best with: 

Indian Pale Ales

I promise that this is not a “cop-out.” I know IPAs are starting to become sort of the go-to for craft brewers; the crowd pleasers of the craft beer world. I am not simply pairing an IPA because it is the popular style right now, and this album is one of the most popular of 2016. IPAs are bitter, but they go down usually with a nice citrus finish. This Album is called lemonade so not only is it fitting to pair it with a citrusy IPA, but it is fitting also in that this album begins as a bitter testament to Jay-Z’s infidelity, but the sound betrays the meaning in that many of the tunes are upbeat, and as we progress through the album *SPOILER* we find that there is a pleasant resolution to the end of the album.

 

Some IPAs: We’re going for bitter citrusy ones here. IPAs are going to be some of the easiest craft beers styles to find.

 

Two Hearted Ale – Bell’s MI (this is a phenomenal beer try to get your hands on this) || Sculpin – Ballast Point, CA || Accumulation – New Belgium, CO || Stone Go To IPA – Stone, CA || Raj IPA – Four Peaks, AZ || Hop Stoopid – Lagunitas, CA || Sam Adams Rebel IPA – Boston Brewing, MA || IPA – Upslope, CO || 60 minute IPA – Dogfish Head, DE

 

Walkthrough

This record opens with Pray You Catch Me. The song opens simple on a single bass string with angelic female vocals matching the notes of the baseline. From here the song slowly builds, and this is going to pair nicely with the sharp contrast of the bitterness you will initially taste in your IPA. As the song picks up we are treated to some really incredible production. There is a lot going on. This is a reflective song which has an interesting double meaning. “I pray you catch me” can be taken to mean that the singer hopes her loved one picks up on her sadness. This can also be understood as the singer singing as her unfaithful lover. The poetic device used here is incredibly creative. The thematic complexity of this song mixed with the beautiful production matches your IPA. The flavorful hops will complement nicely.

Hold Up is much more upbeat utilizing a reggae rhythm via the producer Diplo. This poppy upbeat sounding song should direct your focus to the citrusy and flowery notes in your beer. The persisting bitterness in your beer matches well with the lyrics. Beyoncé borrowed the “They don’t love you like I love you” from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s maps. Maps is an incredibly emotional song about love lost (give it a listen).

Don’t Hurt Yourself Features Jack White which is significant in itself because it shows the openness of Beyoncé in her music styling. White’s influence on this song is pronounced. The distortion techniques and White’s style as exemplified on his Lazaretto Album work well with this rage-filled song. Also, this track features a sample from Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks. How incredible is that?  The bitterness in your IPA should elevate the bitterness behind this song.

Sorry is a typical sort of electro-R&B sound. I find it to be a catchy song, but it is rather boring otherwise. I understand the importance of it exemplifying Jay-Z’s adulterous ways. It pairs well with the mouth feel of the beer, though. The dryness should become apparent.

6-inch is another great example of the diversity on this album. The track features The Weekend who has been having an incredible year. The influence of The Weekend is pronounced like White’s on Don’t Hurt Yourself, yet there is a distinct Beyoncé touch to it. This is another mouthfeel song. I like to appreciate mouth feel during the more heavily electronic songs. I find that electronic music seems to be more about visceral feeling with the shaking heavy distorted base notes.

Daddy Lessons Is a more upbeat countryish sounding song. This Is a reflective piece. Beyoncé is searching her male role models seeing what has led her to be a victim of an adulterous marriage. I must say I am vastly impressed with this album it will win album of the year at the Grammys. This is a good song to appreciate the full force of your beer. The craftsmanship that has gone into it.

Love Drought Is another traditional electro-R&B sounding song which again I am not the biggest fan of the style, but I appreciate its place on the album, and how it moves the album’s direction towards resolution. It is interesting how visual this album is sans the music videos. It is similar to Lana Del Rey’s cinematic approach to music. Lemonade unfolds like a movie. There is a clear direction that is being taken. Take a moment to appreciate the visuals of your beer.

Sandcastles was not written by Beyoncé but it is beautifully performed by her, and it fits perfectly on this album. Extremely sensory lyrics “we built a sandcastle and it washed away.” This is a great song to finish the dregs of your beer to. Or if you’re not that far on your beer, it is a good song to feel the chill hit your throat. Beer is a multisensory experience. Feel is just as important as taste.

Forward features James Blunt, who also wrote the song. This is a short song that serves to push the album and Beyoncé ’s resolution forward. A good song to again parse out the smooth from the bitter in your beer.   

Freedom features Kendrick Lamar, currently the second best rapper (after Kanye). This is a song of resolution. This song that references slavery in America. It is a heavy song that pair well the fullness of the beer, meaning you should not attempt to parse flavors at the moment but rather drink it as a full entity.

All Night is the acceptance and forgiveness of Jay-Z. You can tell there is some apprehension, but Beyonce is ready to move forward. The pacing shows this. The pulsating rhythm is like a heartbeat. You can hear the ache. This song, in particular, is why I initially wanted a beer that would have sweet notes and a bitter taste. This album embodies the spirit of the entire album. Side note. Listen to the studio version of Girl From The North Country by Dylan and Cash. To me, the openings sound very much alike.  

Formation the final track is just fire. It is Beyoncé being a badass showing off her resilience. Toast yourself for getting through another installment of Pairing Beer With Music.

-Sam Hill, sjhill22@outlook.com

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