It's the Most Personal Album to Date
Every single Beyoncé album seems to dig just a bit deeper than the last. The earliest installments — Dangerously in Love, B'Day, and I Am . . . Sasha Fierce — are important moments in Bey's career, to be sure. But they're commercially appealing. They're packed with pop that's sure to get radio play, sure to shake the walls of clubs across the States. 4 was a step toward a more cohesive, complete piece, but it wasn't until Beyoncé that Bey really hit her stride.
The videos — and the content of the songs — gave us actual glimpses inside the pop star's life. We saw Blue; we saw deep insecurities in songs like Pretty Hurts and Jealous. Essentially, we could see the cracks in Bey's perfect public image, and that's part of what made the album so strong.
I would argue that Lemonade doesn't just cause more cracks. It shatters the whole damn thing. You can swear up and down that it's not about Jay Z, and in one sense you'd be right. You could argue Beyoncé is inhabiting a character, but it's impossible not to see the real-life connections. We see a defeated and broken Beyoncé. We see a woman that struggles. We see pain. And in my opinion, that's more powerful.