Release Date: Jun 16, 2018
Record label: Roc Nation
Genre(s): Rap, R&B
Until recently, JAY-Z and Beyoncé had made careers of being astoundingly larger than life--cults of personalities we, in fact, knew very little about. He carefully crafted a narrative of corner-hustler-turned-corporate-CEO while guarding the intimate secrets of those closest to him; she was a perfectly manicured pop star who built an empire on turning the vagaries of life into empowerment anthems. Lemonade and 4:44 were watershed moments because they offered a glimpse of the more vulnerable traits of the mystical artists behind them.
Over the past couple of years, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have offered candid insights into their marriage through their music, first with the former's Lemonade and then the latter's 4:44. Both albums were invitations to witness the strife and elation of a relationship laid bare. With Everything Is Love, their first collaborative album, the couple offers another invitation, this time allowing listeners to behold two artists flourishing in tandem.
On this collaborative album from Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the overarching mood is that of pure joy Any casual viewer of Ru Paul's Drag Race will know that Beyoncé does not go down well on Snatch Game. Whenever queens have tried to impersonate the mega-star in the past (the entire challenge revolves around doing celebrity impressions), their imitations have always fallen horrifically flat, devoid of any catchphrase or real context to hinge on. It's probably because Beyoncé is one of the most guarded pop stars out there, and actually, nobody knows much about her.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have closely guarded the particulars of their private lives for years. Lately, though, they've shown signs of trying to balance their massive public profiles with a desire for accessibility and superstar demystification. It's a gesture Beyonce telegraphed with the unofficial campaign slogan of her Formation Tour: “God is God and I am not,” and it's a guiding theme of Jay and Bey's new surprise album, Everything Is Love, which they've released as the Carters.
Had the title not already been taken by a slightly (give or take a few hundred million dollars) less high-profile couple earlier this year, Jay-Z and Beyoncé's first full-length collaboration could have been called Everything's Fine. But that's not especially befitting of a power couple whose personal exploits have been impossible to completely ignore, no matter how much you try to avoid tabloid scuttlebutt. Plus, as an end to a trilogy (?) during which Bey and Jay each hit peak candidness, on Lemonade and 4:44 respectively, it'd be a rather deflating denouement.
"No need to ask you heard about us/Already know you know about us", sings Beyoncé over a plangent electric piano in 'Heard About Us'. Despite being one of the most uncomplicated examples of celeb-style braggadocio on Everything Is Love, the debut album by Bey and Jay-Z as The Carters, the two verses get to the core of the matter: what is left to know about the Carters' marital saga and their unchanging rep as the wealthiest and almightiest couple in the music business? Do they even need us to know more? Artistically and thematically speaking, Beyoncé's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44 were tough acts to follow. In Lemonade Beyoncé transformed the couple's struggle with betrayal/trust into a gripping plot full of unexpected turns, sonic experimentations and powerful reflections on black womanhood and structural racism that linked the personal with the urgently political.
From the release of "03 Bonnie & Clyde" almost 16 years ago, it was clear that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had a chemistry. The Carters‘ chemistry has reappeared on several tracks since, it powered the tabloid intrigue of both 2016's Lemonade and 2017's 4:44, and now it has its own record. Much of Everything Is Love was recorded at the same time as those aforementioned albums, and the production bears some of the chopped up soul of Jay-Z's last release as well as nods to the current hip-hop scene.
Subscribe via iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS The Lowdown: On Everything Is Love, Beyoncé and JAY-Z throw what you think will be the world-shaking Juneteenth party of the year - but it turns out to be their recommitment ceremony. The third installment of the musicians' marriage trilogy, following Lemonade and 4:44, continues to offer glimpses over the castle wall into their personal turmoil, this time as a united front battling public forces and reveling in their literal and figurative wealth. This album functions as a triumphant capstone to the superstars' reconciliation saga, but the obvious compromises - however necessary for the Carters' union - dilute the individuals' potential power.
Rating: NNNN As Beyoncé and Jay-Z wrapped up the London stop on their On The Run II tour, three words posted on the venue's projectors sent wigs into orbit and people around the world rushing to restore their Tidal subscriptions: ALBUM OUT NOW. The brief, bold announcement invited us into the Carters' elusive, opulent, imperfect world with a new 9-track LP aptly titled Everything Is Love. While it's possible to experience it as a stand-alone project, the album is better viewed as the conclusion to a trilogy, beginning with Jay-Z's infidelity - as hinted on Beyoncé's Lemonade and confirmed and reflected on in Jay's 4:44 - and now ending with the couple's reconciliation.