Beyoncé's Lemonade arrived tonight via HBO, and now, in its immediate aftermath, there is no other way to say it: we have all witnessed the greatest pop moment thus far of the 21st century.
I'm old enough to remember watching the premiere of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video on TV as a kid, how mesmerizing it felt, and how everyone was talking about it the next day, the next month, the next year.
What Beyoncé has done is "Thriller" times 20.
A visual album about the real-life trauma of Jay-Z's cheating on Beyoncé, Lemonade follows an adapted version of the Kübler-Ross model, a.k.a. the five stages of grief -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance -- around the realization of Jay-Z's unfaithfulness. Numerous references to coming home late, not being able to look his wife in the eye, Bey's regrets about her wedding ring and "side chicks" prevail. Prominently, Bey's confidence eventually takes center stage; this is a feminist album that operates on reality and not a PC narrative.
If you're aware of the Kübler-Ross model, you know that the final stage is "acceptance." This is why, even when Beyoncé sang of anger and depression in the first half, I started to believe that Lemonade was not going to be a divorce album.
This gave me slight disappointment. How incredible would it be, how empowering to every woman who'd been cheated on, to divorce Jay-Z on live television over his cheating -- complete with very detailed lyrics, middle fingers, expletives and "you coulda had this" shots of Jay-Z's child, Blue Ivy, and the vision of Beyoncé's body?