Will Beyonce's ‘Lemonade' Win Album Of The Year In 2017? Ha, Like There’s Any Other Option
Exactly what we all knew would happen has happened: Beyonce's Lemonade was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2017 Grammys. As if there was any doubt. However, some fans are nervous, because Lemonade is going up against Adele's 25 for the award. Now, I've got nothing against Adele. No Beyoncé fan — or anyone with ears — has anything against Adele. And she certainly deserves all of the Grammys nominations she earned, after 25 missed the eligibility period for the 2016 Grammys. I want nothing more than for both women to be recognized for being the strong and powerful artists they are at the 2017 ceremony. However, Lemonade is the album that deserves Album of the Year above 25, Purpose, Views, and A Sailor's Guide To Earth. In fact, I'm confident that Lemonade is the album that is going to win Album of the Year and beat out its competition.
Let's start with the criteria for winning Album of the Year. According to the Grammys official website, the prestigious category "[honors] artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position." This makes sense, as album sales are no indication of quality, and chart position just lets you know that a lot of radios have played it over and over again until you got addicted to it. It's fitting for Lemonade to be the album that earns Beyoncé a nod for her artistic achievement, technical proficiency, and overall excellence in the recording industry. The album qualifies for all of that and more.
When it comes to artistic achievement, no one can deny that Beyoncé changed the game with Lemonade. She changed it for herself, honestly, reinventing herself as a musician yet again. Lemonade first debuted as a visual film in April 2016 on HBO, a project so mysterious that no one knew what they were about to watch until it was happening. Through the film, Beyoncé covered such highly politicized issues as police brutality, black feminism, and black culture, analyzing and celebrating them in powerful ways like featuring the mothers of children lost to police brutality or showcasing that numerous natural black hairstyles she and everyone in the film wore proudly.
The album itself was a story of love, pain, heartbreak, redemption, forgiveness, finding yourself, and finding your way, with a call to arms cap in the form of "Formation" that encouraged every woman listening, but especially black women, to stand up in a world that will beat them down and slay, all day. Lemonade truly changed the way that we viewed Beyoncé as an artist, especially since, prior to this and putting aside her friendship with Michelle Obama and her feminism sign at the 2014 Video Music Awards, she wasn't particularly known for commenting on the political arena. With Lemonade, Beyoncé established herself not simply as a feminist, but as a black feminist connecting with, shining a light on, and celebrating her black heritage and southern beginnings.
In doing so, she blazed the way for albums like Solange's A Seat At The Table and Alicia Keys' Here to get even more listens, critical reviews, and thinkpieces than they would have otherwise. Although I can't honestly say she pioneered a new genre, I can say with confidence that Bey pioneered the mainstream acceptance of issues that black women have been thinking about and talking about for years. Beyoncé did it, she killed it, and, as such, she opened the door for other black women to say their piece musically and be heard by more than just other black women.
But that's not the only area in which Lemonade shines. I'm sorry to say this, because I've had Adele's 25 on repeat forever now, but, unlike 25, no two songs on Lemonade sound the same. "Hold Up" has a different sound than "Sandcastles" which has a different sound than "Formation" which has a different sound than "Freedom." The list of collaborators that Beyoncé worked with for this album is so completely random, and they each left their mark on the songs they worked on. From The Weeknd to Jack White, Kendrick Lamar to Ezra Koenig, Beyoncé's Lemonade elevated her sound by working with people both like and unlike her who added some ingredients to a stew that is still wholly her creation. On top of that, she worked with producers like Diplo and Hit-Boy, while also co-producing every song herself. Homegirl has been busy.
Finally, when it comes to overall excellence in the music industry, one only needs to look at the critical reviews of the album in order to see that Beyoncé crushed it with this one. Lemonade was number one on Rolling Stone's list of best albums of 2016, for example. (And, for comparison, A Sailor's Guide To Earth and Views didn't make the list, while 25 came in number two on the 2015 list and Purpose didn't make that list at all.) As Greg Tate of Spin said, "Not since MJ have we gotten to witness a former teen star evolve into a grown-ass one with so much state-of-the-art pop currency, pantheonic ambition, and craft of song." Ray Rahman of Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, praised it with, "Other things [Beyonce has proven she] can do: rock, blues, country, avant-garde, whatever. Lemonade stands as Bey’s most diverse album to date." Do I really need to go on?
I don't deny that the other albums in the Album Of The Year category might be masterpieces in their own right that showed new sides of the artists that put them out. And I certainly don't deny that these other records don't also deserve plenty of recognition. But Lemonade is the one that deserves this particular award, and, yes, I will fight anyone who says otherwise. (I'm kidding. I won't fight anyone. But I'm still right.) Here's hoping the 2017 Grammys agree with me.