It’s Beyoncé and Friends Day! And only an Internet millennium late…
Crystal Leww: For all the gagging that critics did about the Vampire Weekend co-penned “Hold Up” and Jack White featuring “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” Beyoncé went ahead and made “Sorry” the first single off Lemonade. It’s brilliant, of course, combining a breezy production with more swagger and rage than many artists can muster up for a whole album. “Suck on my balls,” indeed.
Jer Fairall: Lemonade is contemporary pop in a nutshell: erratic genre-hopping that produces results as often wearying as they are occasionally inspired, but “Sorry” directs this volatility toward the most purposeful and poignant ends that I’ve heard in a while. The sentiment flips between defiance as defence mechanism and as just plain old defiance, but Beyoncé manages the song’s range of emotions so nimbly that the slides are as invisible as they are tangible. Her plaintive echoes of the title bouncing off the lovely pitter-patter of synths are the song’s rueful anchor, so that by the time she reaches her weary half-rap toward the end, the journey from ladies’ night out to waiting in a darkened hallway for his return to working out the optimistic next step for her and her baby feels complete and triumphant.
Cassy Gress: How- just- wha- How does Beyoncé do this? What vein to the supernatural did she tap? I’m generally sick of electro-R&B songs that do little but vamp until fadeout, and here I am throwing a  on one of them! As middle-fingers-up as she is, there is no point in this song in which I only hear one emotion in her voice. I hear fury, regret, heartbroken determination, all intermingling together like it’s just sliders on a soundboard for her: a little more sigh, a little less slur, fantastically subtle emoting in every note. The flatness of “boy, bye”, the weight she puts on “Becky with the good hair.” This isn’t sassy kissoff Bey, this isn’t wounded and desperate Bey, this isn’t army general Bey; there is no action figure you can deploy for this. This is some mixed-up thoroughly human shit.
Katherine St Asaph: “Single Ladies” reimagined not as a genial all-memes-to-all-people jingle (well, not entirely) but, successively, a closing-credits drift, absolutely bare minimum of anger wise to expend on a dude, arch commiseration among girlfriends, and echoing last words of a ghost, which sound wounded only to those who aren’t privy to what’s going on in the afterlife. Hearing Beyoncé wounded isn’t new, but each successive album is a jolt to the two-dimensional queen-cutout image the poposphere has memed up for her. On “Sorry” she surrounds herself with so many backing vocalists and threaded-in themes, three may not be enough.
Alfred Soto: On Lemonade Beyoncé stands on a proscenium, a vessel for texts whose gradations of feeling she has studied and whose admixture of the vulgar and the elegant allow a fluency of gesture that lesser sinners would flaunt as mere displays of walloping technique. “I ain’t thinkin’ ’bout you,” she declares on “Sorry,” and she’s right: with its playful two-finger synth hook and “Middle fingers up!” chant, “Sorry” is an example of her treatment of music as a revel.
Sonia Yang: Flippant and angry, “Sorry” couldn’t be further from an apology. Perhaps the most amusing thing is Beyoncé using a crude, usually masculine taunt (“suck on my balls, pause, I had enough”) to drive the point home. There’s a certain floatiness to the way everything is mixed, especially her velvety midrange, that makes the song soothing, not acerbic. The repeated “I ain’t thinking ’bout you”s during the chorus blur the territory between defiance and regret — if one really walked away and never looked back, they wouldn’t need to constantly proclaim that they weren’t thinking about it — and that sells the song.
Will Adams: Of the “essential” elements that the internet — whether adoring fans singing Beyoncé’s praises or brands scrambling for content — had efficiently distilled/distorted from Lemonade, two of them are from “Sorry”: “suck on my balls!” and “Becky with the good hair.” As someone who took millennia (millennia = weeks) to get around to listening to it yet still felt like they had already consumed the album due to its omnipresence, hearing them contextualized for the first time was not unlike seeing the twist ending of a movie that had been spoiled. But this wouldn’t have bothered me so much if said contextualization were compelling or matched those moments. “Formation” sounded completely realized; “Sorry” sounds skeletal. The half-stepping synth figure would recall “Better Off Alone,” were it not several octaves down, and were it not surrounded by a strangely major key, hovering sub bass shoved to the front of the mix. The bite I was anticipating was non-existent apart from those two moments. Also, in the whole of Lemonade, this is the weakest song.
Josh Love: The stylistic breadth of Lemonade is remarkable, to the extent that a little something’s lost in plucking the melancholy electro-pop of “Sorry” out of a procession that shows Bey striding so confidently between genres. And then of course there’s the importance of the song to the album’s emotional journey, as superficially swaggering as its bookends “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Six Inch” yet only half-concealing its hurt and fragility, resolving with its musical machinery malfunctioning and Beyoncé conjuring up the record’s most infamous personage, “Becky with the good hair.”
Brad Shoup: Perhaps we’ll get a humane, considered essay on infidelity in 2016. Or we can fumble inside Lemonade for another few months. “Sorry” has so many lines that are theoretically soul-stealing, but Mrs. Carter has little interest in making them such: the second verse is on the yo scale, the first has some piss-taking patois. This isn’t “Ring the Alarm” — nothing on the record is, really — it’s more like a corner-booth commiseration before you call the car. Wynter Gordon and Melo (who’s been prepping lemonade for months now) concoct a circus track that amiably futzes along, a daydream bubble in which Beyoncé can feign regret and imagine a revenge more immediate and less satisfying than Amazing Amy’s.
Josh Winters: It’s crucial to view the parts that make up Lemonade the way they’re presented: not only as segments from a complete audiovisual experience, but also as points on a timeline that form a narrative of a woman’s journey processing marital grief. In the film, “Sorry” is chronicled in an emotional state of apathy (what some may call the inverse of emotion), when you’ve spewed out all the anger that was swelling inside of you (as previously expressed in “Don’t Hurt Yourself”) and all there’s left to do is DGAF. For Beyoncé, this is a moment of sweet yet short-lived satisfaction, but it’s hard not to revel in her triumph while you can. No need to point to the left when you can just throw some fingers up as you stand right where you are.