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Beyoncé unveils gritty surprise album ‘Lemonade’ on HBO

Beyoncé performs at the 2013 Super Bowl on

Beyoncé performs at the 2013 Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. She is set to start her "Formation World Tour" on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Miami. Credit: AP / Jordan Strauss

Beyoncé has done it again.

After a high-profile, hourlong debut of the videos on HBO, she released “Lemonade” (Parkwood/Columbia), her second surprise album in a row. The album is currently only available on Tidal, the music streaming service she partially owns.

The “Lemonade” video album tells the story of marital discord and reconciliation, which may or may not be the story of the marriage of Beyoncé and husband Jay Z. They have fiercely fought to keep their relationship private, but, if tabloids and the occasional elevator video are to believed, it has hit rocky times in recent years.

The album features collaborations with Jack White and The Weeknd, along with songs co-written by electronic artist James Blake.

At this point, Beyoncé no longer seems interested in using traditional music industry methods to launch her projects.

In February, she released her single “Formation” on YouTube the day before she performed part of it in the Super Bowl Halftime Show. But she didn’t put it on sale or release it to radio, opting instead to make it an exclusive on Tidal.

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As with most Beyoncé-related things these days, “Formation” and its striking video that depicts post-Katrina New Orleans sparked controversy among some for showing police in riot gear and graffiti that read “Stop shooting us.”

However, among others, Beyoncé’s more politically conscious lyrics drew praise. And the song was also strong enough to launch her “Formation World Tour,” which hits stadiums around the country starting Wednesday in Miami and includes two nights at Citi Field in June.

Beyoncé revealed her outside-the-box thinking by surprise on Dec. 12, 2013, when she released her “Beyoncé” album with no advance warning. While most artists build expectations for an album release for three months through singles, videos and interviews, Beyoncé simply put the album and its videos on sale all at once.

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