All thoughts on the album’s content aside, Beyoncé’s Lemonade is a cultural phenomenon the likes of which we haven’t seen since, well, Beyoncé’s self-titled album. After the hourlong premiere of the visual part of the album, the audio was released, and along with it came the book-length credits, which noted that most songs were written by more than a handful of artists. Two of those artists, listed on the song “Hold Up,” are indie favorites Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, and Father John Misty of Father John Misty. Both of these guys told the story of how they contributed to the song, and neither of them involves sitting in a wood-paneled room, cigarette smoke overhead, as they and Beyoncé struggle with chorus cadence.
For Koenig, the story, like all good stories in 2016, started with Twitter, way back in 2011, when he tweeted a variation on the chorus of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” replacing “wait” with “hold up,” followed by, of course, “they don’t love u like I love u.” Then, unfortunately, Diplo got involved, but then Diplo brought the song they made together to Beyoncé, and then Koenig’s life changed forever.
Misty’s story picks up from here, and is much less quirky. He, of course, began with a fake story on Twitter, but ended up releasing a statement that manages to highlight just how mundane songwriting can be.
About a year and half ago, my friend Emile Haynie played Beyonce 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.
Boots, Beyoncé’s producer/collaborator since her self-titled album, also weighed in with an explanation of Animal Collective being credited on a different song, even though none of the members wrote for the album. His is a story that highlights the importance of the “Blurred Lines” court case, where we now live in a world in which an accidental ripping of a riff can lead to a lawsuit.
“this song /// section is the spiritual sequel to the “Ghost” section of “Haunted”. “9 to 5 to stay alive” morphs into the grind from Monday to Friday////Friday to Sunday. The Animal Collective “material things” amalgamation was accidental. similar to when George Harrison got sued for “My Sweet Lord”. 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.”