Everything Is Love

The Carters

Parkwood/S.C. Enterprises/Roc Nation, 2018

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carters

REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/06/2018

Twenty sixteen’s Lemonade was Beyoncé’s announcement that she wasn’t going to take it anymore, an unapologetic catharsis about what it meant to be black, female, famous, cheated on, vengeful, empowered, and ultimately at peace—in other words, what it meant to be Queen B. 2017’s 4:44 was her husband Jay-Z’s apology letter, his most vulnerable work in years (if not ever), a soul-searching album that mostly tossed the bravado aside and opted for humble confession instead. Everything Is Love, the unannounced, unpromoted surprise of the summer, is the happy ending fans were hoping for, a collaboration that announces the king and queen are here to stay.

Starting with “Summer,” the couple makes clear that there is no split on the horizon for America’s biggest celebrity couple, stating in the final lines that “Love is going to express itself as a form of forgiveness and compassion for each other.” The song’s smooth R&B makes the transition to the album’s hit single, “Apeshit” all the more jarring – where “Summer” traffics in the calm imagery of ocean waves, “Apeshit” is all about the money, the fame, and the crowds. “Summer” is what the Carters may be in their minds, but “Apeshit” is what they are in reality. And for fans, that’s just fine, because “Apeshit” is an unquestionable hit, drawing on the skills of Pharell Williams and Migos’ Quevo and Offset to produce trap music that you’ll put on repeat for days.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The remainder of the album is a lot more “Apeshit” than “Summer,” with tracks like “Boss” and “713” proclaiming Bey and Jay’s supremacy over the culture. Tracks bounce between R&B and hip-hip, with Beyoncé in particular showing remarkable musical range as she goes from fiery raps to soulful ballads. Jay-Z, while not stretching any new muscles, is energized in his verses, putting to bed any lingering fears that his status as a mogul has made him lose a step behind the mic. Especially in “Black Effect,” his influence is felt, even as Beyoncé’s talent looms larger over the album as a whole.

Vulnerability rears its head again in “Friends,” which serves almost as a therapy session for the couple, one the listener eagerly eavesdrops on. As Beyoncé sings about friends who “pull me up / and never let me down,” you can hear her pointedly reminding Jay-Z of his sins, only to ask him at the song’s conclusion to pull her up from despair himself. Theirs is a relationship that has been down in the valley and is emerging anew, and the music reflects that.

If you were to describe this album in two words, both musically and lyrically, the best description might be “victory lap.” As the third part of a trilogy of transparency, Everything Is Love sees a united Beyoncé and Jay-Z, albeit one where the dynamic has shifted once and for all to Bey as the hero and star. She gets all the great lines, she gets all the sympathy, and she gets all the praise – but as long as Jay-Z gets to play too, all is well. After all, it’s not about Jay-Z or Beyoncé anymore, it’s about the Carters. Long live the king and queen.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2018 Daniel Camp and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Parkwood/S.C. Enterprises/Roc Nation, and is used for informational purposes only.