"Hold Up" is a slice of art that engages the senses of sight and sound, and it's beautiful.
Evan Sawdey: Forget the fact that half of all of pop- and indie-dom (i.e. Diplo, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ezra Koenig) worked on this song in some capacity or another. The star of the show is (and always was) Beyoncé. "What's worse / Lookin' jealous or crazy?" she asks to her philandering man, and that one line, by itself, is defining: it's not so much about her emotion, which in fact she'll always carry inside her, but how she presents it. That's the issue. This fella is burned no matter what, so here she is, in the unenviable position, trying to maneuver how to handle the way that people will perceive this blow up. When you get down to it, it's about control, and even when he's out of control, she's going to do all she can to mitigate the situation. Therein lies her power, and therein lies her brilliance. It's intense psycho drama, but lord you can also dance to it. [10/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Of all the tracks on Beyoncé's multimedia tour de force Lemonade, none better represent the transition from woman scored to the fury that hell hath none of than "Hold Up". Beyoncé starts out drowning, free-floating in water and insecurity, drawing us into her most troubled times with an intimate recitation. She ends up smashing car windows with a baseball bat. The song itself juxtaposes light strings and a sweetly crooned chorus with quick verses reminding you that you're an idiot if you cheat on Beyoncé. Without the video, it's a pretty simple song, but "Hold Up" was never meant to be a two-dimensional earworm. Instead, it's a slice of art that engages the senses of sight and sound, and it's beautiful. [9/10]
Steve Horowitz: Goddamn, Beyoncé is intense, using the pages of the holy book to plug up her menstrual hole and still feeling unclean. She makes Leonard Cohen’s sexual-spirituality seem cautious. And then she turns into Andy Williams for a riff from a song about “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” and then starts talking about cutting up a bitch. The juxtaposition is more than jarring, it’s freaking awesome and rips out your guts. Sure the video is fine, but with music this great, who cares? [10/10]
Andrew Paschal: I've never quite understood why this is one of the most popular songs on Lemonade, to be honest. Not that there's anything wrong with it: it's a compelling illustration of the uncertainty that plagues soon-to-be fractured relationships, and the self-doubt that creeps in when you sense that something is wrong but are unwilling to fully acknowledge or confront it just yet. All of this rides over an off-kilter reggae rhythm that seems unsure about whether to be leisurely or hurried. Still, when held up to other tracks on the album, I'd take the hysterical inferno of "Don't Hurt Yourself", the unraveled kiss-off of "Sorry", or the righteous pride of "Formation" any day of the week. [7/10]
Chris Ingalls: Combining a dramatic reggae swagger with lush production, "Hold Up" shows Beyonce with the world in the palm of her hand -- it's a seriously commanding performance, both in the singing and toasting but also in the irresistible baseball bat wielding video. Beyonce's moved past traditional pop and R&B and continues to prove herself as a classic singer and performer. "Hold Up" is another stellar example of what she can do with a solid composition. [9/10]
Michael Pementel: Hands down one of the coolest music videos, and a grand solid opening with spoken word performance (the poetry originally written by Warsan Shire). Coming off of Lemonade, "Hold Up" has an instrumental that's simple, with lyrics straight to the point on Beyone's relationship with Jay-Z. This combo drives the message even harder like queen B's bat, becoming a mix of heaviness meets pop, meets poetic justice. Alone a traffic track, and a part to what made Lemonade a terrific album. [8/10]
Scott Zuppardo: Hands down one of the most well put together women on the planet, in both looks and vigor. The video only capitalizing on that. I think I love seeing Beyonce beat shit with a bat however I'd rather get that luscious voice in song rather than rasta-esque scat rappin'. The poetry at front is killer and the production tight as a tiger. Since I'm late to the party, did Jay-Z cheat on her or something? [7/10]