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Sampling makes strange bedfellows — especially when it comes to a star as encompassing, and curious, as Beyoncé. On the mega-star’s sixth solo album, Lemonade, she plucked choice sounds and lyrics from artists you’d never associate with each other, from Led Zeppelin and Andy Williams to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Soulja Boy Tell’em. Here’s a breakdown of all those far-out sounds.
“Maps” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
In the original 2003 version from the Brooklyn trio, singer Karen O. unveiled a yearning vocal over stinging pings of atmospheric guitar. For Bey’s song “Hold Up,” she swiped the main lyrical refrain from the earlier song, driving home the point, “You don’t love me like I love you.”
“Can’t Get Used to Losing You” by Andy Williams
Bey borrowed far more from this oldie in “Hold Up.” The original recording, penned by the classic 60s R&B-pop writers Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, soared high on the charts in 1963, aided by the smooth-vocals of Andy Williams. The 2016 take centers on the essential, plucking beat of the original recording, while incorporating much of its dark, lounge-y vibe, too.
“Turn My Swag On” by Soulja Boy Tell’em
To complete a trifecta of references for “Hold Up,” Beyoncé revived rapper Soulja Boy’s pungent hip-hop track from 2008. In the outro to Bey’s song, she quotes the opening lines of the older cut, swallowing its hook whole.
“When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin
In 1971, Zep unleashed one of its most low-down heavy blues numbers with the closing track on their self-titled fourth album.Teaming with the Zep-obsessed Jack White, Bey swiped John Bonham’s drum beat to give her song, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” a pummeling heft.
“My Girls” by Animal Collective
On “6 Inch,” Beyoncé sifted out the bell-like chime of this song by the avant-rock band Animal Collective. The Weeknd’s guest shot deepens the new track’s subconscious resonance.
“Walk On By” by Isaac Hayes
In 1969, soul pioneer Hayes greatly expanded this pop classic, penned by Burt Bachrach and Hal David and performed by Dionne Warwick, into a psychedelic-rock extravaganza. Now, elements of its most low-end guitar and bass sound serve to spur on “6 Inch.”
“Let Me Try” by Kaleidoscope
The most deliciously obscure reference point on “Lemonade” comes from the psych-folk group Kaleidoscope. Their mind-blowing original track, from the late ‘60s, wafts around trippy guitars and acid-drenched organ surges. For her new cut “Freedom,” Beyoncé lifted both the fuzzed guitars and the mind-blowing organ to create a somewhat faithful cover version. Another wonder: the freshest element comes from Kendrick Lamar’s cameo in the final third.
“Collection Speech/Hymn” by Reverend R.C. Crenshaw
Another part of “Freedom” poaches some of the churchy call and response of this original track, a vintage “field recording” made by Alan Lomax in the 1940s. He captured it as part of his quest to chronicle the vanishing sounds of rural America.
“Stewball” Prisoner 22
To enhance the chanting background of “Freedom,” Bey selected another “field recording” from Lomax — this one voiced by inmates at Mississippi State Penitentiary.
The original recording comes from the South’s most creative rap duo on their 1998 album “Aquemini.” In that version, the horn section provides the melodic spine for Outkast’s floating soul tune. In its new guise, heard in the track “All Night,” Beyoncé finds a similar dynamic, contrasting her drowsy melody with the horns’ firm resolve.