As one of the pop worlds most influential and respected names, no one is too shocked at the widespread success Beyoncé is having over her recent release Lemonade. Dropped simultaneously at the same time as her two hour HBO special, this release is the singers second visual album. And like the last one, has a massive list of contributors and collaborators.
It’s hard, — maybe impossible to nail down what genre exactly to label Lemonade as, or even what realm it belongs to, which is in part due to the variety of collaborators and samples Knowles and her writing crew gathered. What stood out was the list of high profile indie artists that made the album. What’s that saying about judging people by the company they keep? Take a look at the most impressive indie collabs on Lemonade below:
(Note: Lemonade is available via TIDAL, Amazon and iTunes — we suggest you follow along)
Ezra Koenig & Yeah Yeah Yeahs- “Hold Up”
The story goes like this: once upon a time after listening to Yeah Yeah Yeahs track “Maps”, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig tweeted his take on the original lyrics, changing “Wait, they don’t love you like I love you” to “Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you”.
Three years later, Koenig is in the studio with Diplo, while working on loops from Andy Williams’s “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”. He then writes a hook, based off the “Maps” lyrical re-write, adding “There’s no other God above you, what a wicked way to treat the man who loves you.” Originally he intended to keep it as a Vampire Weekend tune, but someone convinced him to send it to Beyoncé, who had been shopping around for collaborators.
“Beyoncé 100% made it her own,” he said. “I’m very glad to have been a part of it”. He simplified the story on his twitter.
James Blake – “Forward”
James Blake lends his haunting voice for Lemonade‘s shortest track “Forward”, to which many fans have described as the most touching track (both musically and visually) on the album.
Jack White – “Don’t Hurt Yourself”
On the heavier sides of things, Jack White co-wrote and co-produced the album’s third track “Don’t Hurt Yourself”. His signature voice and instrumentation can be heard along side Bey’s, with a sample of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks“.
Father John Misty – “Hold Up”
Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman’s involvement on “Hold Up” was more direct than Ezra Koenig and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. As Tillman told Pitchfork, he wrote the song’s first verse, refrain and chorus’ lyrics and melody. Read his account below:
“About a year and half ago, my friend Emile Haynie played Beyoncé some of my music, along with some tunes I’ve written for other people, back when she was looking for collaborators for the record. Pretty soon after they sent along the demo for ‘Hold Up’, which was just like a minute of the sample and the hook. I’m pretty sure they were just looking for lyrics, but I went crazy and recorded a verse melody and refrain too that, unbelievably – when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo – ended up making the record – right between picking up the baseball bat and decapitating the fire hydrant.
I was mostly kind of in the dark, my involvement with the record kind of ends with me just sending off the demo, it wasn’t until she came to my Coachella set in 2015 and told me personally it had made the record that I really had anything concrete with which to convince my friends that I hadn’t actually gone insane.“
Animal Collective – “6 Inch”
Animal Collective is credited on Lemonade, while actually having zero involvement with the record, for the use of their single “My Girls” on “6 Inch”. According to Beyoncé writer-collaborator Boots, he wrote the line “She too smart to crave material things,” after subconsciously lifting the lyrics from the Animal Collective track which reads, “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things”.
He told Genius:
“You write it and sing it and think “thats fucking great!!!” and everyone high fives and you’re all geniuses for fourteen seconds but it turns out its great because someone else already fucking wrote it. that song is a jam.”