Video beyonce love drought lyrics

Cynicism is a growing phenomenon in music. True love songs are hard to come by these days. Deriving its name from Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Yellow Diamonds is a series of lyric breakdowns in which VIBE Senior Music Editor Austin Williams celebrates songs that sound like love found in a hopeless mainstream.

In my lyric breakdown of Normani’s latest single, “Fair,” I noted a conversation I had with one of the students I teach at CUNY City College. After class, this student, a bright young woman by the name of Deasia, stayed behind to work on her laptop. I did the same. While we both worked, we rehashed an exchange we had during class about our mutual interest in Normani (the course is Intro to Media Studies—I talk about the media I cover a lot). This eventually led to us unpacking whether a song as grief-stricken as “Fair” could be considered a love song by the Yellow Diamonds definition I’ve upheld in the past.

Like most worthwhile music debates, this one eventually evoked the great Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. Shocked at my assertion that “Fair” could possibly be a love song, as it’s also a record about the feeling one’s left with when someone they love leaves them for another, Deasia began to list other songs expressing similar feelings that she believed proved me wrong. One of those songs was “Love Drought,” from Beyoncé’s seminal 2016 album, Lemonade.

As I suggested in my breakdown of “Fair,” and in my breakdown of Kehlani’s “little story,” another song about a dead romance, tales of heartache can still be considered love songs so long as the song itself still considers love. What sets “Fair,” “little story,” and “Love Drought” apart from other songs describing heartbreak is they all evade the cynicism this column rejects. And, of course, where there’s optimism, love is usually not far behind.

In “Fair,” Normani maintains her love for a man she lost but sings more about why she can’t move on than why she believes she should. Conversely, in “little story,” Kehlani attempts to regain the affection of a lover she abruptly abandoned. And in “Love Drought,” the most verbose of these songs, Beyoncé attempts to work through dry spells in her marriage, certain there’s an oasis within reach. What all three songs share are declarations of love unbound to whatever expectations listeners have of how happy love should make us.

A great deal of scholarship has been done on the complexities of Lemonade as an emotional text. I’m not here to participate in that. As an adjunct professor and music editor, I have a number of Black women peers better suited for that task than I am. But the case for “Love Drought” as a love song is too strong for me to not offer my friend Deasia an explanation.

Ten times out of nine, I know you’re lying But nine times outta ten, I know you’re trying So I’m trying to be fair And you’re trying to be there and to care And you’re caught up in your permanent emotions All the loving I’ve been giving goes unnoticed It’s just floating in the air, lookie there Are you aware you’re my lifeline, are you tryna kill me? If I wasn’t me, would you still feel me? Like on my worst day? Or am I not thirsty enough? I don’t care about the lights or the beams Spend my life in the dark for the sake of you and me Only way to go is up, skin thick, too tough

Knowing what we all know about the inspiration behind Lemonade, there’s a gossipy approach one could take when examining the lyrics of “Love Drought.” But even if all memory of Jay-Z and Beyoncé (and Solange) were scrubbed from existence, and all that remained were the lyrics of this song, it’d be clear the inciting incidents leading to them involved infidelity.

The verse begins with accusations of lying but an acknowledgment of effort. From there, we learn this song isn’t solely about scorn and betrayal. It’s also about a particular hope for reconciliation, which fundamentally can’t exist without love. As Beyoncé sings, “So I’m trying to be fair/ And you’re trying to be there and to care,” it’s understood there’s mutual interest in keeping the marriage alive.

But, still, she feels her love often goes ignored, left hanging in the air like an unanswered question. Beyoncé then follows that lyric with an actual question: “Are you tryna kill me?”

In my “Fair” breakdown, I compared the fragility of life to the fragility of relationships, noting the grief one experiences when either thing fades is itself a response borne of love. As Beyoncé equates infidelity to a life-or-death circumstance, that comparison rings true.

The verse ends with more questions, as the singer wonders if she weren’t Queen Bey would Jay still want her, and whether the true issue is her not being enamored by his own rap royalty. Like other moments throughout Lemonade (and 4:44 and EVERYTHING IS LOVE), this moment in “Love Drought” feels less like an interrogation and more like a couple’s therapy session packaged for voyeuristic consumption.

Nine times out of ten, I’m in my feelings But ten times out of nine, I’m only human Tell me, what did I do wrong? Feel like that question has been posed I’m movin’ on I’ll always be committed, I been focused I always paid attention, been devoted Tell me, what did I do wrong? Oh, already asked that, my bad But you my lifeline, think you tryna kill me If I wasn’t me, would you still feel me? Like on my worst day? Or am I not thirsty enough? I don’t care about the lights or the beams Spend my life in the dark for the sake of you and me Only way to go is up, them old b****s so wack I’m so tough, wassup?

Verse two begins with a clever flip of the opening lines from verse one, though these lyrics express a sentiment that’s just as reasonable: Beyoncé is in her feelings because, despite the power she wields in the world, she’s only human.

Another important question is posed in this verse: “What did I do wrong?” The question is so pressing it gets asked again a few bars later. This is perhaps the most vulnerable part of the record, the thought that the woman behind “***Flawless” believes she might not actually be that. Though the verse ends with braggadocio just a few lines later, with a flex reminiscent of her taunts toward “Becky with the good hair,” this brief moment of self-doubt makes the confidence of the song’s chorus feel that much more triumphant.

‘Cause you, you, you, you and me could move a mountain You, you, you, you and me could calm a war down You, you, you, you and me could make it rain now You, you, you, you and me would stop this love drought

To Deasia’s credit, she makes a great point countering my criteria for love songs. Paraphrasing her argument, she maintains mere declarations of love don’t necessarily define a love song. Instead, she believes songs exploring heartbreak and grief, things we experience when love becomes one-sided, transcend the feeling itself and ultimately express an entirely different emotion.

She isn’t incorrect. I concede that while “Fair” fits my personal definition of a love song per Yellow Diamonds, it doesn’t quite fit the technical definition per the song’s intent. But “Love Drought” does. This record, like “little story,” leaves love on the table.

Despite the trials it details, “Love Drought” is a work of pure optimism, crystallized in the above hook. In Beyoncé’s estimation, there’s nothing her and Jay-Z’s love can’t conquer—cheating included. To her, a stadium-touring, Grammy-winning, world-beating phenom, whatever love she gives and receives has the power to move a mountain, stop a war, bring rain, and end even the most prolonged season lovelessness. Who are mere mortals like us to disagree?

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Kay Adams