Beyoncé's artistic journey from member of Destiny's Child to today has been staggering to watch unfold. Lemonade , surprise released on Saturday night, is not only one of the year's best pop records but also one of the most important. This is Beyoncé's State of the Union address - where we're at politically, culturally and musically. A record that so perfectly captures and articulates the zeitgeist - songwriting drenched in struggle and empowerment. Lemonade is vital.
As the biggest popstar on the planet, Beyoncé has more to lose than most and more reasons to play it safe but Lemonade is the sound of true artistry. 2013's Beyoncé marked the start of Beyoncé's majestic period but Lemonade cements her as an important voice with the influence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, arguably the most important social movement of recent times, felt throughout the album. Beyoncé has seized a narrative that many have tried to confine to the side-lines and dragged it to the mainstream.
There's also a rawness to some of the songwriting. A few of the tracks will raise eyebrows about the state of Beyoncé's and Jay-Z marriage - for a couple that so tightly controls their public image there is a surprising amount of laundry on display.
It's easy to get lost in the worthiness of the record and neglect to mention that the songs are killer. Even appearances from Jack White and The Weeknd do nothing rain on this parade. In a week when the world lost Prince, it's comforting to know there are popstars still taking risks and boy does it pay off.
Lemonade is out now on Tidal