Enough time has passed since Lemonade dropped (not with a whisper but a bang) that I must ask: what's your favorite song? There may only be 12 songs to choose from but literally every song off of this musical masterpiece is perfect. Each track is full to the brim with gut-wreching emotion, from happy to angry and everything in between. It is by equal turns a break-up album and a make-up album. There's a complete emotional arc made from the opening hum of "Pray You Catch Me" to the final twang of "Formation"; Beyoncé navigates it perfectly. How could any of us choose simply one song to brand as the best song off Lemonade ?
Where could we even begin? Well, it's easy to understand why "All Night" could be at the top of the list. Not only is it Beyoncé's favorite song from Lemonade , but it is a heartwarming song about the power of love and supporting the ones you love. It's a strong contender for the title of "Best Song," but I think there's one that could top it — along with the obvious frontrunners: "Formation" and "Hold Up." The best song off this album is, without a doubt, "Freedom."
"Freedom" is not only anthemic in nature, it's the one song that ties various major themes of the album together. It mixes the personal with the communal, the political with the artistic. By this point in the album, the grand finale, Beyoncé is tying up all the thematic loose ends of Lemonade. The triumvirate that forms this finale ("Freedom," "All Night," and "Formation") are about actively pushing forward as a collective unit. One community, coming together is positive ferocity, to affect a change in current circumstances.
If Lemonade is, by and large, an illustration of the toll of collected shared grievances (look at the recent surge in documented police brutality against black Americans or the systemic imbalance of the treatment black women receive in society), "Freedom" is the standout moment when the playing field becomes forcefully leveled.
Over at Pitchfork, Britt Julious writes that, "after songs of paranoia, anger, and revenge, we finally get a song that speaks truth to Beyoncé’s deep well of feelings. Bathed in psychedelic, synthetic organs and a propulsive drum beat, the track cuts straight, providing an alternative narrative of personal redemption..."
"Freedom" signals Beyoncé taking up the mantle of power and charging forward with what she has learned thus far. The song is a literal forward march. By the chorus, she transforms from the receiver of pain into an empowered leader:
"I'm telling these tears 'go on and fall away, fall away'/May the last one burn into flames/Freedom, freedom, I can't move/Freedom, cut me loose/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'mma keep running 'cause a winner don't quit on themselves"
Beyoncé has no fear in her voice. She is resolute. Against the musical backdrop of "Freedom," she is cathartically transformed. This is what makes the song so, so good. It's a transformative song.
All this talk about "Freedom" has me ready to revisit Lemonade. Please excuse me while I go and hit "play" on this incredible song.