The Carters: Everything is Love
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter has been surprising us with musical projects since 2013, but she somehow still manages to shock the world every time. Fans have been anticipating an album from the pop star for a while now and expected a project to drop before she went on tour with husband and rapper, Jay-Z, for their second On The Run world tour. The couple finally announced the release of a joint album on Tidal while performing their second show in London. The album was entitled Everything is Love and they released it as The Carters. Beyoncé then took to Instagram to announce the album's art work and the visual for their newest single "Apesh*t." The album is 38 minutes long with a total of 9 songs. It features guest-producers like Pharell, Cool & Dre, and Boi1da, as well as additional vocals from Ty Dolla Sign, Quavo and Offset of Migos, and their eldest daughter, the formidable Blue Ivy. Though they originally released it on Tidal, the streaming service they co-own, it soon began streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and is available to download via Amazon Music.
The music video was directed by Ricky Saiz who has previously worked with Beyoncé and was shot in Paris' famed art museum, the Louvre. Bey and Jay have been long-time fans of the museum and apparently expressed the idea to film when they visited the museum earlier this year. This is not out of the ordinary as the museum hosts around 500 shoots a year for film, television, and music projects. A definite figure has not been released, but the cost of all-day private access to the galleries is about $17,500. The video is visually stunning and includes shots of the couple in front of "The Mona Lisa," "The Winged Victory of Samothrace," "The Coronation of Napoleon," "Great Sphinx of Tanis," "Venus de Milo," "The Raft of Medusa," and many other famed pieces of priceless artworks and antiquities.
The album opens up with "Summer," a song where a heavy bass-line in addition to Beyonce's sultry voice, beckons the listener to join her on an island getaway. The song finishes with a melody of strings and audio of Damien Marley who says, "Love is universal/ Love is going to express itself as a form of forgiveness and compassion for each other." This statement sets the tone for the album which is all about love - love of friends and family, love of blackness, love of themselves and where they came from, love of money and their success, and finally, love for each other. The high-tempo trap sound of the second song, "Apesh*t," sets its own kind of precedence, defining a new musical sound for Yoncé - what one Twitter user called Trapé , or high class trap. Beyoncé kills her rap verses on this song alongside her husband's verse and ad-libs by Migos rappers Quavo and Offset. This new sound continues throughout the rest of the project, her usual vocal ballads replaced with tough and fast-paced rhymes.
As if we needed reminding, The Carters spend much of the album telling us that they're on top. On "Salud," a single released but not featured on the album, the couple celebrates themselves and the fact that they made it. On "Boss," Jay-Z reminds us that, "It's disturbing what I gross/ Survey says you not even close" and Beyoncé gives us a lesson on generational wealth. "My great-great grandchildren already rich/ That's a lot of brown chi'r'en on your Forbes list/ Frolicking around my compound on my fortress," she raps. "My success can't be quantified," she adds in "Nice." On "Heard About Us." Jay weighs the pros and cons about being famous. On the one hand, all his business is in the news and he's getting sued all the time, but at least he can show up to court without a suit, and gets to shoot in the Louvre. It's also in this song that the two remind us they haven't changed, reinforced by "713," a song named after the area code of Houston, Texas, Bey's hometown.
Besides celebrating the love of material things that they've worked so hard for, the couple also express love for blackness and for their friends. On "Black Effect," and "713," Jay speaks on issues plaguing Black America like false arrests and police brutality, citing individuals like Kalief Browder who spent three years in prison without being convicted and who eventually took his own life. Mr. Carter produced a docuseries on Browder's life and death and hinted at one being made about Trayvon Martin in the song. "Friends" is a catchy anthem about the importance of friends. Praying friend. Real Friends. Unselfish friends that are "goals" and better than yours. Jay recites the names of some of the people in his "tight circle, no squares" who have and always held him down. Bey ends by wondering, "What would I be without my friends?"
Last not but certainly not least, The Carters are celebrating the love they have for each other as husband and wife. If Lemonade and 4:44 are the first and second act, this album is the perfect finish for what has turned into an epic trilogy documenting the Carter's relationship. A story of betrayal and forgiveness. Of a marriage between two people that "went through hell with heaven on our side." In the concluding song "LoveHappy," Bey and Jay keep it real with us, reminding us that marriage requires work. They seem to be talking back and forth with each other and letting us in on their conversation. The Carter's are very private and recently, their marriage has been in the public eye more than ever before. This is the happily-ever-after moment that we've been waiting for.
Although The Carter's have us a much-anticipated glimpse into their private life with this album, the message can't stand on its own. The songs are good, but lack the usual flare this pairing usually brings when apart. Together on this project, Bey and Jay are experimenting with a new sound, most likely to keep up with the current trends in Hip-Hop. This sound, however, is nearly forgettable and underwhelming at best when put up against the other classic projects these two musical icons have produced over their careers. Overall, Everything Is Love, though the answer to our questions, doesn't live up to the hype.