Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
22 Jun 2018
10:59 am

The Carters: ‘Everything Is Love’ review – Uniting in musical matrimony

Daniel Friedman

Beyonce and Jay-Z thrash out their personal problems in compelling style on their first joint album.

‘Everything Is Love’ feels a bit like being allowed access into the Carter’s bedroom.

Listening to a couple celebrate their love and also thrash out their issues while lying on their bed in their (in this case very expensive) pyjamas would not necessarily be as interesting if this weren’t probably the most obsessed over couple in the world.

As expected, they don’t pretend to be a normal couple, revelling in their massive success. But they do have some pretty normal and relatable relationship drama. They have dealt with his infidelity both publicly and musically as well as privately as a couple, and have emerged stronger – ultimately none of this marketing of their own marriage would work if there wasn’t very real, palpable love there.

Understandably for someone who is the half of the couple with things to apologise for, Jay Z for the most part defers to his iconic wife and lets her lead the album.

For her part, Beyonce demystifies herself, telling us she has “real problems just like you” and also channels her bad-girl persona Sasha Fierce, acting generally badass and at one point even saying “F**k you” to Spotify . Meanwhile, Jay Z confronts rumours about a supposed love child and confronts his fallout with Kanye West. Both reference their daughter Blue Ivy a lot. ‘BLACK EFFECT’ is the album’s most political track, with references to Malcolm X, police brutality and Trayvon Martin.

There are a lot of concessions to current trends by way of trappy elements, with Migos themselves doing ad-libs on ‘APESHIT’ (which actually started out as a Migos demo), and a few shout-outs to hip hop classics like Dr Dre’s Still (interestingly, Jay Z allegedly ghost-wrote that song for Dre).

This is a couples therapy session that ultimately results in a stronger union, expressed on closer ‘LOVEHAPPY’.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that the hubby is one of the best rappers of all time and the wife is one of the world’s greatest pop stars (and on this album she proves that she can rap, too). They are also great businesspeople and are fully aware of how much of a frenzy their uniting in musical matrimony would cause in their listeners and in the charts.

It’s not as great as his ‘4:44’ or her ‘Lemonade’, but if anything that’s an indication of how high a bar they’ve set themselves.